Several additional amicus briefs were filed in the Applewhite case:
Metcalfe: As I mentioned in my last post, State Representative Daryl Metcalfe, the author of the photo ID law, submitted an amicus brief in support of the Photo ID Law. Forty-nine of the additional 103 Republican state representatives who voted for the law joined in the brief. The brief was prepared by Judicial Watch, which describes itself as a “conservative, non-partisan educational foundation [that] promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.” The brief argues that: (1) the Pennsylvania legislature has authority to pass laws governing elections; (2) such laws cannot be overturned unless the legislature acted with “gross abuse” when it passed the law; and (3) the Pennsylvania legislature did not act with gross abuse by passing the Photo ID Law.
Philadelphia: The City of Philadelphia filed an amicus brief in support of Petitioners’ request for an injunction. In its brief the City explains how it administers elections and provides statistics about the races, ages and economic status of the Philadelphia electorate.
Ellis: A private citizen, George W. Ellis, also filed an amicus brief. According to this webpage, Ellis holds himself out as a member of the Tea Party. Ellis’ primary contention appears to be that the Photo ID Law is necessary to combat what he contends is rampant “Democratic Election Fraud” in the City of Philadelphia. In support of his position, he attaches several articles he found on the Internet. To take just one example, the first document attached to the brief is a post by J. Christian Adams. In the post Adams reports on a “story about the 2008 election . . . claiming that ‘black Dems were caught stuffing the ballot boxes in Philly.’” The story to which Adams is referring is an article from a publication called Business Insider. The Business Insider article was reporting on internal emails of a company called Sratfor that were published by Wikileaks. The particular email in question was authored by Fred Burton, who wrote: “The black Dems were caught stuffing the ballot boxes in Philly and Ohio as reported the night of the election and Sen. McCain chose not to fight.” Burton’s email cites no source for or evidence to support his allegation.
What this means is that the document upon which Ellis is relying is triple hearsay. The original statement was made by: (1) Burton, reported by (2) Business Insider, and then reported again by (3) Adams. And there is no indication that the original declarant (Burton) had personal knowledge of the incident he mentioned in his email. In addition, the original statement by Burton — that “black Dems were caught stuffing the ballot boxes in Philly” in 2008 — is demonstrably false because the City of Philadelphia does not use ballot boxes. Indeed, the City has been using electronic voting machines since 2001.
While I admire the effort Ellis made to express his views by preparing and submitting his amicus brief, it appears that he does not understand how the courts operate. When he deliberates on the challenge to the Photo ID Law, Judge Simpson only may consider evidence that is admissible under the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence. The Adams article, like all of the other “evidence” Ellis cites in his brief, is inadmissible hearsay. Therefore, Judge Simpson cannot consider it and likely will disregard Ellis’ amicus brief in its entirety.
UPDATE (7/26/12): Dennis Baylor, a private citizen, filed an additional amicus brief in support of Petitioners’ challenge to the Photo ID Law. Baylor notes that he has a driver’s license, which he intends to use as photo ID under the law. However, Baylor recounts how, in late 2010, he received a letter from PennDOT notifying him that someone (whose identity Baylor does not know) reported to PennDOT that he suffered from a medical condition that made him unfit to drive. Therefore, PennDOT suspended his license and demanded that he surrender it to PennDOT. PennDOT claimed that it would replace his driver’s license with a non-drivers photo ID card that he could use for identification purposes, but it never did. If I understand his argument, Baylor is taking the position that the Photo ID Law is flawed because the Commonwealth has statutory authority to seize a voter’s driver’s license with little notice — and with it, the identification he may need to vote.