TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Moving quickly on the issue, a federal appeals court has tentatively scheduled oral arguments in July in a constitutional battle about Florida’s process for restoring the voting rights of felons.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments the week of July 23 in Atlanta, though an online docket does not list a specific date.
In an order filed late last month, the appeals court said it was expediting consideration of the case, a move that included speeding up deadlines for attorneys to file briefs.
The case went to the Atlanta-based appeals court after U.S. District Judge Mark Walker declared unconstitutional Florida’s process for restoring the voting rights of felons who have served their sentences.
Gov. Rick Scott and members of the state Cabinet, who serve as the clemency board, have defended the current process, which involves felons waiting five to seven years to apply to have their rights restored -- and years after that to complete the process.
Walker had ordered Scott and the Cabinet to revamp the process by April 26.
But state officials won a partial victory April 25, when a panel of the federal appeals court granted a stay of the order.