[Guest post by DRJ]
The New York Times notes today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding an Indiana law that requires voters to present photo IDs before they can vote:
“The Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter-identification law on Monday, declaring that a requirement to produce photo identification is not unconstitutional and that the state has a “valid interest” in improving election procedures as well as deterring fraud.
In a 6-to-3 ruling in one of the most awaited election-law cases in years, the court rejected arguments that Indiana’s law imposes unjustified burdens on people who are old, poor or members of minority groups and less likely to have driver’s licenses or other acceptable forms of identification. Because Indiana’s law is considered the strictest in the country, similar laws in the other 20 or so states that have photo-identification rules would appear to have a good chance of surviving scrutiny.
The ruling, coming just eight days before the Indiana primary and at the height of a presidential election campaign, upheld rulings by a Federal District Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which had thrown out challenges to the 2005 law.”
Justice Stevens, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy, ruled that the petitioners failed to meet the heavy burden of showing the law was unconstitutional on its face, leaving open the door to a future complaint by a voter who could show his rights were violated by the law.
The opinion “brushed aside” complaints that the law benefits Republicans, noting that the law “should not be disregarded” even though it may be motivated by partisan interests. In addition, Justice Stevens’ opinion reportedly acknowledged notorious instances of voter fraud in American history.
Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito concurred in the opinion but went even further:
“Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. concurred in the judgment of the court, but went further in rejecting the plaintiffs’ challenge. In an opinion by Justice Scalia, the three justices said, “The law should be upheld because its overall burden is minimal and justified.”
Justices David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer dissented on the basis that the law “threatens to impose nontrivial burdens on the voting rights of tens of thousands of the state’s citizens.”
I hope Texas and other states adopt similar laws post haste.