Justices Seemed Inclined to Uphold Voter ID Law

Bump and Update: The New York Times reports that the Justices seemed inclined to uphold voter ID laws.

Original Post (1/9/08):
Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Voter ID Card Cases

The Supreme Court today will hear oral arguments in the Indiana voter identification card cases.

The justices will hear diametrically opposite depictions of Indiana's toughest-in-the-nation voter identification law, which requires every voter to present a photo ID card.

Democrats and civil rights groups charge that the law is a Republican ploy to prevent thousands of poor, elderly and minority citizens from casting ballots. Republicans say that it won't prevent any qualified person from voting. Instead, they say, it guards against vote fraud and heightens public confidence in the integrity of elections.


Background from TChris here.

Voter identification cards suppress voter turnout, particularly in minority populations. Indiana isn't the only state in which Republicans are trying to maintain control through these laws.

For the briefs and more information:

At 10 a.m., the Court is scheduled to hear argument in the consolidated cases of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (07-21) and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita (07-25), asking whether Indiana’s law requiring voters to show ID at polling places violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

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    WSWS on review of Indiana voter ID law (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Andreas on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 04:16:35 AM EST
    With 20 states having already passed restrictive voter ID laws and several others considering similar legislation, a ruling by the high court, which is expected by late June, could substantially affect voter turnout in this year's presidential election and possibly alter its outcome.

    The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law estimates that up to 20 million citizens could be prevented from voting in the November election if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Indiana and other states adopt strict ID requirements.

    The court's last intervention in a major voting rights case was the 5-4 decision that sanctioned the suppression of votes in Florida and handed the White House to Bush in 2000. Noting this record Richard Hasen, an election law expert at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, told USA Today, "There's more than a little bit of irony in going to the Supreme Court and asking them to rise above partisan politics in election cases." ...

    While Democratic Party officials are opposing the law for their own partisan reasons, the party has no more interest in upholding the fundamental right to vote than the Republicans. Democratic officials have engaged in furious attempts to keep third party candidates off local and national ballots and have been complicit in all aspects of the Bush administration's attack on Democratic rights, beginning with the capitulation of Gore in the 2000 elections.

    US Supreme Court reviews Indiana voter ID law

    By Jerry White, 10 January 2008

    Should be a required (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 04:33:25 AM EST
    question on any political poll:

    In your opinion, who will best protect your Constitutional rights in appointing future U.S. Supreme Court justices?


    Voter ID (1.00 / 3) (#3)
    by DIVERDWN on Wed Jan 09, 2008 at 07:39:11 PM EST
    It is inconvievable that a person in this country doesnt have an ID, regardless of race, class, age, or gender. If one doesnt have an ID, then there's a good chance they dont need to be voting in the first place.  Give me a break.

    Don't need to be voting? (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 01:24:47 AM EST
    Who are you to determine that an 80-year-old homebound person doesn't "need to be voting"?

    If homebound (none / 0) (#11)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 07:21:49 AM EST
    If homebound they won't be going to a polling station.  Those persons can vote absentee.

    I'm stunned (none / 0) (#1)
    by Satya1 on Wed Jan 09, 2008 at 10:32:43 AM EST
    That this has been up 5 hours and no one has commented on it yet.  I have been doing much of my reading about this from the terrific page at the Brennan Center and want to recommend that to visitors at talkleft.  Many links to briefs are there including the one that Sen. Obama joined by the CBC.

    curious (none / 0) (#2)
    by Satya1 on Wed Jan 09, 2008 at 11:00:03 AM EST
    pardon the extra note for this check on timestamps but you may want to know.  I am hitting the post button on this at exactly 11:00:00 CST

    Why is Senator Obama involved in this case? (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 01:06:27 AM EST

    It's personal (none / 0) (#8)
    by BlueLakeMichigan on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 03:18:38 AM EST
    for Obama, I feel. He was against von Spakovsky enough to put a hold on his nomination for FEC head, and against this whole ID bs enough to make a political stink about it. I think if he can find something to get voters behind in a Democratic primary, it has to be fighting against vote rigging.

    Sen. Obama (none / 0) (#19)
    by Satya1 on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 10:07:29 AM EST
    has been quite active in voter rights issues.  He also introduce the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act in the Senate.  From the NY Times:

    Congress should also pass the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act, sponsored by Senator Barack Obama, which would criminalize misleading and intimidating actions used to prevent voters, particularly minority voters, from casting ballots.

    Hillary Introduced (none / 0) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 10:40:02 AM EST
    the Make Every Vote Count Act.

    Both Obama and Hillary have good records on voting rights.


    How about (none / 0) (#21)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 12:02:50 PM EST
    having people go to the local library in order to read up on the candidates and issues before voting.  Common sense and it would actually save taxpayers money and reduce the size of gov't.

    Common sense? (none / 0) (#24)
    by BlueLakeMichigan on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 02:25:15 PM EST
    Please tell me you're not in favor of these Republicans, then, if you're a "common sense" sort of voter. These Dubya II Republicans, except Ron "I think gays intentionally spread AIDS" Paul, want to take the money not from you, but from your grandkids. So will government go up, under their stewardship? As long as that means more corporate welfare, a larger prison-industrial complex and a vast array of new toys to kill black and brown people with, then hell to the yes it will. Think Democrat.

    Common sense (none / 0) (#26)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 04:12:55 PM EST
    would mean personal responsibility.  Can't be republican.  Nowadays personal responsibility means someone else paying for your gov't approved decisions.  

    jeez (none / 0) (#25)
    by Jgarza on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 02:54:31 PM EST
    literacy test?

    Snippet: (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 01:31:16 AM EST
    U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement threw the Bush administration's support behind the law, although a recent scandal over politicization of the Justice Department led to the ouster of its voting rights chief, who backed Georgia's ID law.
     [Emphasis added.]

    This is a tad confusing. The SCOTUS (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 01:33:10 AM EST
    argument has occurred.  

    It should not (none / 0) (#12)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 07:31:04 AM EST
      even be an issue sriously raised that people should be allowed to vote without establishing identity and eligibility.

      If there is really an issue with people being prevented from voting when they are eligible because they lack ID, the problem should be solved by those people taking the  steps necessary to obtain a valid ID. IF there are truly obstacles that make it unreasonably difficult for a person to obtain an ID then the solution is to address any unreasonable obstacles to obtaining an ID.

      It is mind boggling to me that people would seriously think the solution lies in allowing people to vote without showing they are the person they claim to be and are eligible to vote.

    it may be mind boggling to you (none / 0) (#13)
    by cpinva on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 08:45:50 AM EST
    decon (and i know that has to hurt!), but i did some checking. oddly enough, nowhere in the constitution can i find a requirement that all citizens must have officially sanctioned identification cards. go figure. whatever was madison thinking?

    historically, the instances of voter fraud have been few and far between, hence the difficulty the republicans have always had, in proving a dire necessity for such laws. while there have consistently been anecdotal claims made, rarely, if ever, has anyone ever been able to provide tangible evidence of massive voter fraud, anywhere in this country.

    actually, the demand for a photo ID, as proof of voter identity, is specious on its face, since those are easily fabricated. if the proponents of voter ID were truly concerned with vote fraud, rather than vote suppression, thumbprint ID would be a far more accurate method. clearly, that's not the case.

    A state matter. (none / 0) (#18)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 09:55:06 AM EST

    nowhere in the constitution can i find a requirement that all citizens must have officially sanctioned identification cards. go figure. whatever was madison thinking?

    He was probably thinking that since the several states determine voter eligibility requirements it was out of place in the federal constitution.

    You may also note that the federal constitution does not prohibit a person from being registered and voting in multiple locations, nor in voting in a registered dead person's name.  That does not mean that the states cannot or should not ban such practices.  Let the dead in Chicago rest in peace. They should not have others vote for them.


    you fail to understand (none / 0) (#31)
    by Deconstructionist on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 08:31:02 AM EST
     that the Constitution does not require people to obtain and possess ID, in no way supports the notion that a state may not require a person to prove identity and eligibility to to vote. The Constitution does not directly  "require" people to obey any state law. That does no mean states may not enact laws and enforce them.  Whatever Madison may have been thinking he certainly would not think you have a clue about law anbd the constitution were he here today.

      Voter fraud in some places historically is endemic. And, if you are truly of the opinion that it does not exist then you have little to worry about if ID is required.

      As I said the proper solution to the claimed ( but unsubstantiated -- and far less established than the existence of voter fraud)  problem of people who are properly registered  being prevented from voting is removing any unreasonable obstacles to obtaining a valid ID.

      That you then claim an ID is not sufficient because it would not eliminate all fraud due to the aability to counterfeit ID and suggest thumbprints makes me wonder about you. Are you truly of the opinion that no remedial action should ever be taken unless it can completely eliminate a problerm because reducing the frequency of a problem is not worthwhile?

     Try thinking about things rather than reflexively parroting the partisan line.



    I don't understand (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jen M on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 08:51:23 AM EST
    In Maryland I have a voter registration card, and yes, I do have to produce a picture ID when I vote.

    A person can get a drivers license or a non driver's  ID at the local DMV

    What is different about Indiana?

    In Indiana if you want an ID card (not a Drivers (none / 0) (#23)
    by kindness on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 12:29:15 PM EST
    License) you have to produce another form of ID, specifically your birth certificate.  If you are a married person and you've changed your last name, and your birth certificate name does not match your current last name,  They will not give you an ID card.

    How much more data do you need to see this law has nothing to do with stopping voter fraud but is intended to stop voters, particularly democratic voters.


    yep (none / 0) (#27)
    by tnthorpe on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 06:20:45 PM EST
    As the Brennan Center shows, there's no proof that the sort of fraud the law ostensibly is designed to prevent occurs despite the hyperbole of GOP talking points. There are no prosecutions  in Indiana concerning this sort of voter misrepresentation.

    Must obviously be a huge problem then.

    Of course, the voter caging, voter purges, tampered electronic machines, Blackwell's Ohio strategies of moving voting places, inadequate voting equipment, and other GOP intimidation tactics that are a matter of sad public record have skewed election results, but that's matter for another thread.

    This law is just more GOP interference with the democratic process, a sign of ideological exhaustion and desperation IMHO.


    I see that you can't seem to grasp what (none / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 10:32:24 PM EST
    happened in San Diego...

    I see you can't seem to stop trolling (5.00 / 0) (#30)
    by tnthorpe on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 10:46:56 PM EST
    The Democrats haven't used the Justice Department to pursue bogus claims of voter fraud as has the Bush maladministration. This law is simply designed to lower turnout and even Judge Posner admitted it was likely to affect Democratic turnout disproportionately.

    As you would say, and often have, facts be facts.


    Of course they are. (none / 0) (#15)
    by JayR70 on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 09:10:25 AM EST
    Their legal examination consisted of going in to their wallets and saying "I have a driver's license. It can't be that hard for anyone else to get one."

    And I'm sure that it assists the GOP never entered into their minds.

    Lost faith in the wheels of government can only lead to one thing.  People aren't going to take the BS forever.

    Why don't they realize that?

    JayR70 wrote: (none / 0) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 09:31:09 AM EST
    And I'm sure that it assists the GOP never entered into their minds.

    Are you saying that Democrats want voters, even if they don't have proof they are citizens? Even if they aren't citizens?

    Well,  no surprise there. From the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    If an election can turn on a sentence, this could be the one: "You don't need papers for voting."

    On Thursday night, Francine Busby, the Democratic candidate for the 50th Congressional District, was speaking before a largely Latino crowd in Escondido when she uttered those words. She said yesterday she simply misspoke.

    "misspoke" Uh-huh. Sure. LOL


    Too (none / 0) (#22)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 12:04:50 PM EST
    much faith in gov't of, course is a good thing.  Eventually we will not have to make any decisions on our own.

    John Tanner (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jgarza on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 09:31:15 AM EST
    Last year John Tanner a DOJ official made controversial remarks regarding the affect of this law on minorities.  Barack Obama called for his dismissal.  He was essentially moved to another position.

    here is a link to the npr story

    hehe (none / 0) (#29)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 10:35:16 PM EST
    Tampering with a career government official??

    Thought that was illegal... oh, I see... it is only if done by a Repub and the official is a Demo..

    Excuse please