Defending an Unjust System: How Johnson v. Bush Upheld Felon Disenfranchisement and Perpetuated Voter Inequality in Florida
In 2002 the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida decided the case of Johnson v. Bush. The case was brought by local Florida attorneys and the Brennan Center, a civil rights organization based in New York, on behalf of a class of disenfranchised ex-felons in Florida. The class action challenged Article VI § 4 of Florida's Constitution and additional Florida regulations that denied convicted felons the right to vote. Under the state constitution, disenfranchisement is permanent after commission of a felony unless a pardon is granted by the Governor with the approval of three members of the cabinet. The Plaintiffs asserted that these laws violated the First, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Twenty-fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution, Sections 2 and 10 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff's claims of law were denied and the case is currently on appeal.
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