On February 27, Professor Bill Quigley argued to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in support of voting rights for individuals from Louisiana on probation and parole. Louisiana law currently bars felons on probation or parole from voting. The case centers around the phrase "under an order of imprisonment" which appears in the 1974 Louisiana Constitution. The plaintiffs in the case are challenging a 1976 state law that codified an expended definition of that phrase to include felons on probation and parole, in addition to those in prison. Attorneys for the state contend that felons on probation or parole remain under an order of imprisonment because they can be returned to prison if they violate the terms or conditions of their release.
The Community Justice section of the College of Law, led by Clinic Professor Davida Finger, filed an Amicus brief on behalf of The American Association of Probation and Parole in support of restoring voting rights.
Professor Andrea Armstrong and Associate Professor Johanna Kalb co-authored a letter to the editor, titled “Louisiana Court Should Protect the 1974 Constitution and Give Probationers, Parolees the Right to Vote,” that appeared Sunday in “The Advocate.” As professors of constitutional law, Armstrong and Kalb “urge the court to uphold this fundamental right and allow every eligible Louisianan to participate in our democracy.” The professors previously submitted an amici curiae brief on behalf of 17 Louisiana Law and history professors in the case. The community organization, VOTE, is a plaintiff alongside others in this groundbreaking lawsuit. Lawsuit documents are posted by co-counsel, the Advancement Project.