Viviette Applewhite was one of several petitioners in Applewhite et al. vs. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, filed in the commonwealth court of Pennsylvania on May 1, 2012. The suit sought an injunction against Pennsylvania’s recently enacted voter-ID law. The trial court ruled the law was Constitutional and denied the injunction but on appeal the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an order the effect of which is to delay the start date of the new law until after the November 6th election. The Supreme Court ordered the lower court to enjoin the Voter ID for the upcoming November 6th election only if he believed without a grain of doubt that not a single voter would be disenfranchised by it. I guess the Supreme Court didn’t think to require the petitioners to believe that not a single fraudulent vote would be cast if the injunction were granted.
The upshot is that Democrats will be able to easily cheat in one more election in Pennsylvania, but in future elections they will have to find new ways to cheat, perhaps by supplying their cheaters with multiple false IDs so they can vote under false names in multiple precincts. But I digress. Let’s get back to the special case of petitioner Ms. Viviette Applewhite, a 96-year old African American.
The complaint, or petition for review as it is called in Pennsylvania, contains the following allegation in paragraph 2 thereof:
Petitioners include real- life examples of long-time voters who will be disenfranchised by the Photo ID Law: people like Viviette Applewhite, who marched for civil rights with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and who has tried unsuccessfully for many years to obtain a photo ID;
The allegation of Ms. Applewhite, and others like her, upon which the petition for review is based, is that she has tried for many years to obtain a photo ID but was she has been unsuccessful. She wants a photo ID, but she cannot get one. The voter ID law thus denies her the right to vote, no less than a poll tax or a literacy test or any of the other of the fancy tricks that used to played on African Americans in some states to keep them from voting. Please make a note of that. If Ms. Applewhite’s allegation be true, I will loudly denounce voter ID laws everywhere. So let us see if it is true.
On August 15, 2012, Judge Robert Simpson denied the application for injunction of the new Voter ID law in Pennsylvania. The petitioners, through their attorneys, immediately appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which issued the ruling that has resulted in the Voter ID not being in effect for the November 6th election, but will be in effect in every subsequent future election.
As noted above, the petitioners lost in the trial court in a ruling issued on August 15, 2012. What did that mean for Petitioner Applewhite, who had alleged that she had been trying for years to obtain a Photo ID without success? Did this mean that unless the Supreme Court overturned the trial court she would not be able to vote on November 6th? Was she just another African American denied the right to vote by the racist bigots in the legislature in Harrisburg?
No. Not on your life. Viviette Applewhite is a sensible woman. She did was any sensible woman in her position would do. She went right out, the very next day, and got a Photo ID. It was easy, as we all know it is. Even if the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had upheld the injunction issued by Judge Robert Simpson, she now has a Photo ID which she easily obtained and she will be able to vote on November 6th no matter the status of the Voter ID law. Here is a photo of Ms. Applewhite with her newly acquired Photo ID, which she was able to easily obtain.
I don’t believe that Viviette Applewhite intentionally lied in the petition that was filed in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, and I’m certainly not accusing her of ever casting a fraudulent vote or ever intending to do so. She may not have known what her attorneys wrote in the petition or understood what it meant. But I do believe a fraud was perpetrated on the court, or at least attempted. If I were the Judge I would sanction Ms. Applewhite’s attorneys and make all efforts to see them disbarred. The allegation that Ms. Applewhite had tried for years to obtain a Photo ID and had been unsuccessful was a naked lie to the court. It should not be dismissed as mere litigation bluster. It was a deliberate lie.
It brought to mind the opening sentences on page one of Michael Connelly’s excellent novel, The Brass Verdict:
Cops lie. Lawyers lie. Witnesses lie. The victims lie.
A trial is a contest of lies. And everybody in the courtroom knows this. The judge know this. Even the jury knows this. They come into the building knowing they will be lied to. They take their seats in the box and agree to be lied to.
The trick if you are sitting at the defense table is to be patient. To wait. Not for just any lie. But for the one you can grab on to and forge like hot iron into a sharpened blade. You then use that blade to rip the case open and spill its guts out on the floor.
The lie in this case…that the petitioners had all tried unsuccessfully to obtain Photo IDs, was the lie that rips the case open and spills its guts on the floor. The lawyers that told this lie in the name of their hapless “clients” are not defenders of justice or the rule of law as all lawyers should be. In my opinion, they are political hacks, legalized prostitutes, and a disgrace to the legal profession. Well, they would be if the legal profession were any longer capable of being disgraced.
The lawyers for the Commonwealth at least can take some solace in the part they played in this case. The words of the narrator in Michael Connelly’s novel go on about that one lie that he forges into a sharpened blade:
That’s my job, to forge the blade. To sharpen it. To use it without mercy or conscience. To be the truth in a place where everybody lies.
I’m not completely jaded. I believe there are still some Atticus Finches in the legal profession. Lawyers who make it their duty “to be the truth in a place where everybody lies.”