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Trump judicial nominee wants to make it harder to vote in Alabama

Alabama’s top lawyer is asking the Supreme Court to support voter suppression efforts during a pandemic.

By Dan Desai Martin - July 01, 2020
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Edmund LaCour

Edmund LaCour, Alabama’s solicitor general and a recent Trump judicial nominee, has asked the Supreme Court to make it harder for people in his state to vote amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

LaCour filed an emergency appeal with Justice Clarence Thomas on Monday asking the high court to overrule a lower court decision that would allow counties to offer curbside voting during a July 14 runoff election, AL.com reported on Tuesday.

On June 15, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that Alabama could not prevent counties from offering curbside voting. The ruling also stopped the state from enforcing its voter ID requirement for some absentee voters who may be at higher risk of complications from the virus.

LaCour argued in his emergency appeal that state law does not allow for curbside voting and the federal courts should not be able to change state law so close to an election.

He claimed specifically that allowing safer voting measures “undermines voter confidence” and “creates an unworkable mishmash of law that cannot be uniformly administered.”

Alabama’s Republican governor, Kay Ivy, delayed the runoff election — which will determine whether Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville or former Attorney General Jeff Sessions will take on Democratic Sen. Doug Jones this November — earlier this year from March 31 to July 14.

LaCour’s emergency appeal comes as Alabama sees a spike in coronavirus cases.

The state experienced a record-high 776 COVID-related hospitalizations on Tuesday, surpassing its previous high of 715 on Monday.

Cases are rising so quickly that the Trump campaign canceled a rally it was planning to hold in the state next weekend, according to CNN.

Republicans more broadly have pushed back against efforts to make voting safer amid the pandemic in recent months.

In April, for instance, the conservative-leaning Wisconsin Supreme Court, backed by Republican lawmakers in the state, forced voters to risk their health by voting in person during the primary election on April 7.

Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, had tried to allow voters more time to cast a mail-in ballot but was ultimately overruled. Officials later identified dozens of cases likely tied to the decision to force voters to the polls.

Trump himself has repeatedly lied about absentee voting, making false claims about mail-in ballot fraud that have no basis in fact.

“Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide mail-in voting,” Trump tweeted on April 8. “Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans.”

There is no evidence that voting by mail increases voter fraud.

In May, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee also announced a $20 million effort to fight in court against efforts to protect and expand voting rights.

An RNC official at the time told Politico they were prepared to sue Democrats “into oblivion and spend whatever is necessary” to stop voter safety measures in their tracks.

Trump first nominated LaCour to serve as a judge for the United States District Court in Alabama on May 20.

Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby applauded the decision at the time, saying LaCour was “a highly-qualified candidate for this esteemed role” and would be “a great addition to our nation’s judicial system.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall also praised the move, saying in a statement that LaCour would be “an outstanding jurist for Alabama’s Middle District Court.”

“I have no doubt our state and country will continue to benefit from his public service as a federal judge,” Marshall said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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