The case of Fish v. Kobach challenging Kansas law requiring proof of citizenship will go to trial in March before Judge Julie Robinson.
“When you get a preliminary injunction, you still need to get a final judgment,” said the ACLU’s Doug Bonney. “In this case, the judge has decided that she needs to have a trial before she can issue a ruling as a final judgment. That’s what we’re going to have in March.”
The ACLU sued to stop the law, which was to have taken effect in 2013, from being implemented, arguing that the law conflicted with the National Voter Registration Act, the so-called Motor Voter law.
“The trial will be for the presentation of evidence, to make a record of evidence for the court to consider in making the legal determination whether Kansas had adequate grounds for requiring documentary proof of citizenship or not,” said Bonney. “It’s a very high burden that Secretary Kobach faces. The courts have made that clear, but the courts need a record of evidence to make their decision.”
Though the trial should be short, that isn’t the end of the process.
“Once we have the trial and get all the evidence in front of Judge Robinson, there will probably be further briefing on what that evidence means and how she should interpret it, as a matter of law,” said Bonney. “Her decision, almost certainly will not be made from the bench in March when we have the trial. She will take it under advisement and may ask us for additional briefs and will issue a written ruling sometime down the road.”
Bonney anticipates that could be as soon as early summer, but it will likely be before the August primary.