Supreme Court Upholds Indiana Polling Place Photo ID Restrictions
6-3 decision opens door for other states' similar laws
Despite Justices' admission that "partisan considerations may have played a significant role in the decision to enact" the Indiana law (Justice Stevens) and that the law targets "voters who are poor and old" (Justice Souter), the majority votes to uphold Indiana's draconian polling place photo ID restrictions.
This morning, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (07-21) (and a companion case) upholding the controversial Indiana law which places polling place photo ID restrictions on registered voters. This decision effectively keeps the law on the books and in place in Indiana, which in turn leaves not enough time for voters without the required state photo ID to get one before the Indiana primary on May 6. We believe this decision will undoubtedly disenfranchise voters who are poor, elderly, or people of color.
Although a study by Bush's own Justice Department found "scant evidence of voter fraud" and, as Justice Stevens wrote in his opinion from today's decision, the Indiana case "contains no evidence of any voter fraud actually occurring in Indiana at any time in its history," the Court today upheld this disenfranchising government-issued photo ID restriction on legally registered voters.
The Justices in the majority also conveniently ignored the fact that, according to the Supreme Court's blog, "the Indiana law may fall somewhat more heavily upon older persons born in other states, persons with economic or other limitations making it difficult for them to get a birth certificate or other document in order to get a state-issued ID, homeless individuals, and persons whose religious faith raises an obstacle to being photographed."
So according to the Supreme Court, a law that targets "voters who are poor and old" - and boldly takes on a problem that pretty much doesn't exist - is a good law.
No one should be surprised. This is the same court who's majority, while claiming to abhor "judicial activism," invented law out of whole cloth in Bush v. Gore and then advised people unhappy with the Bush v. Gore decision to "get over it."
There was a recent scene from the TV show "Boston Legal" which puts it quite well. While arguing a case before the Supreme Court, James Spader's character, Alan Shore, says this, among other things:
"You’ve transformed this court from being a governmental branch devoted to civil rights and liberties into a protector of discrimination, a guardian of government, a slave to moneyed interests and big business…"