Ohio must pay attorney fees for failing to implement ruling restricting voter ID law
A Union Local and a Coalitiion of interest persons sued the Ohio Secretary of State to limit the enforcement of Ohio's 2006 Voter ID law. The Plaintiffs claimed that the law unnecessarily and illegally restricted access to the ballot by persons who did not own or need a state-issued photo ID. The Court held that the law was in fact illegal, similar to the illegal poll "taxes" that were imposed after the U.S. Civil War to prevent voting by poor former slaves. As has been widely discussed during this election cycle, no history of voter fraud supports the imposition of this kind of burden on voters, and the impetus for the rules appears to be purely partisan politics by extremists in the Republican party. In any event, the Plaintiff group was forced to litigate further to compel the Secretary of State to enforce the Court's order and it then sought attorneys' fees under federal law for the secondary enforcement effort. .
This week the Sixth Circuit agreed that the plaintiffs were entitled to collect fees, despite ambiguous language in the settlement agreement, but limited one aspect of the "enforcement" fees to 3% of the original fee award. It cited a ruling on "fees for fees" in a collection case previously issued by the Court.