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ACLU challenges Alabama felony disenfranchisement law

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF; press release] Monday in Alabama's Montgomery County Circuit Court, challenging an Alabama law that prevents some convicted felons from voting. A 2003 amendment to the state constitution [text] says that felons convicted of "crimes of moral turpitude" are ineligible to vote, and specifies 15 qualifying crimes. Alabama Attorney General Troy King [official website] put forth a list of additional crimes that would bar voting in 2005, and the ACLU alleges that his action was in violation of the state constitution, which only allows the legislature to make such designations. The lawsuit seeks to restrict disenfranchising crimes to only those listed by the legislature. AP has more. The New York Times has additional coverage.

In February, the ACLU filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in federal court challenging a Tennessee state law that requires convicted felons to pay "all outstanding legal financial obligations" before their voting rights are restored. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee [official website], alleges that such a financial burden violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment [LII text] by "discriminat[ing] among citizens on the basis of wealth."

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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