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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that Florida can order ex-felons to pay court fines and fees before they can register to vote.

Why it matters: The decision comes less than eight weeks before the November elections, potentially jeopardizing voter registration for hundreds of thousands of Floridians.

  • Critics of the law argue that such a requirement would amount to a poll tax and discriminate against felons who cannot afford to pay.

What they're saying: "Court costs and fees are legitimate parts of a criminal sentence—that is, part of the debt to society that felons must pay for their crimes—there is no basis to regard them as a tax," the 200-page decision reads.

  • "To be sure, one purpose of fees and costs is to raise revenue, but that does not transform them from criminal punishment into a tax. Every financial penalty raises revenue for the government, sometimes considerable revenue."
  • "The Due Process Clause does not require States to provide individual process to help citizens learn the facts necessary to comply with laws of general application."

The big picture: The 11th Circuit agreed to hear the case on an expedited basis after U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle in May sided with the challengers and ruled that the expenses imposed on ex-felons were unconstitutional.

Go deeper

Trump campaign loses yet another legal challenge in Pennsylvania

The president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani (center) has led legal efforts to cast doubt on election results, but few have succeeded. Photo: BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty

Philadelphia did not violate the law by restricting poll observers' proximity to ballots, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in a blow to the Trump campaign Tuesday.

Why it matters: This development comes after President Trump's defeat in a string of court battles, which his campaign wielded in several states in attempts to discredit President-elect Biden's election victory.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Virginia attorney general fires Jan. 6 investigator from university post

McIntire Amphitheater at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: Robert Knopes/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The lead investigator for the Jan. 6 House select committee investigating the Capitol riot has been fired from his position as the University of Virginia's counsel by the state's new Republican attorney general, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Democrats say the removal of Tim Heaphy from his post after some three years while he's on leave from the university to investigate the insurrection is likely "retribution" for the House probe — an accusation strongly denied by the office of state Attorney General Jason Miyares (R).

5 hours ago - World

Taiwan's military scrambles jets after detecting 39 Chinese warplanes

J-20 stealth fighter jets in Zhuhai in the Guangdong Province of China last year. Photo: Chen Jimin/China News Service via Getty Images

Taiwan's defense force said 39 Chinese warplanes flew into its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Sunday.

Why it matters: The largest Chinese air force incursion into the zone since October came a day after the U.S. and Japanese navies conducted a joint exercise in the Philippine Sea.