Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson refused to grant an injunction that would have stopped a new Pennsylvania voter ID law from going into effect today. Simpson's decision will most likely be appealed to the state Supreme Court. The law will require anyone voting in Pennsylvania to show specific government issued photo IDs. Pennsylvania's Secretary of State estimates that 758,000 registered voters lack the proper ID.
Elderly women, members of minority populations, college students, Pennsylvanians with disabilities, and transgender individuals have all testified in the case against the new law, claiming it would disenfranchise them. In his ruling, Judge Simpson wrote that those seeking the injunction blocking enforcement of the law did not show that "disenfranchisement was immediate or inevitable," reported NBC.
Four of the six state Supreme Court justices would need to vote against the voter ID law for it to be overturned. Currently the court is split evenly with three Republicans and three Democrats. The seventh judge, Republican Justice Joan Orie Melvin, has been suspended while she faces criminal corruption charges, reports the Associated Press.
Earlier this year, Republican Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turazi claimed that the new law would "allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania" in the November election. Opponents of the law have cited that the state does not have any evidence to suggest that voter fraud has occurred or will occur in Pennsylvania elections to justify a voter ID law. The US Department of Justice is also looking into the law due to evidence suggesting the law discriminates against minority groups.
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .