Professor Johanna Kalb and Professor Andrea Armstrong filed an amicus brief on behalf of 17 Louisiana professors of constitutional law and history in VOTE v. LA, a case brought by Professor William Quigley and others challenging the statutory prohibition on voting for people who on are probation or parole.
The Louisiana state Constitution prohibits persons "under an order of imprisonment" for the conviction of a felony from voting. The '76 law that is being challenged expanded the definition, saying that felons on probation and parole cannot vote. A group called Voice of the Ex-Offender, or VOTE, and the suit's other plaintiffs argue time spent "under an order of imprisonment" does not include time spent on probation or parole.
The state maintains that felons on probation or parole remain under an order of imprisonment because they can be sent back to prison if they violate the conditions of their probation or parole.
"The fundamental nature of the right to vote would also support contemporary explanations of limiting 'order of imprisonment' to actual incarceration following conviction," the professors counter in their brief.