Bush Scandals List

345. The Indiana voter ID case

On April 28, 2008, SCOTUS decided 6-3 in Crawford et al v. Marion County Election Board et al that Indiana’s law requiring government issued photo ID for voting was valid. Even by the standards of this Court, the reasoning in its opinion can only be qualified as stupid, contradictory, and partisan. They look upon the IDs as “‘even handed restrictions’ protecting the ‘integrity and reliability of the electoral process itself.’” They are in fact nothing of the kind. While free in theory such IDs place disproportionate burdens on the poor, minorities, the disabled, and the elderly, groups that are least able to bear them and just happen to often vote Democratic. Costs of acquiring the needed documentation for the photo ID such as a birth certificate and of transportation to and from state offices are blown off by the Court. As for the “electoral process”, the Court admits “the record contains no evidence that the fraud SEA 483 [the Indiana law] addresses –in-person voter impersonation at polling places—has actually occurred in Indiana.” In other words, the Court has accepted a remedy which is selectively burdensome for a problem that doesn’t exist. Could anything be more stupid? Well yes, the Court also accepts the state’s argument that its failure to keep its voting rolls up to date is a reason not for it to do a better job with regard to them but to pass the onus for its failure on to certain groups of voters, even though as mentioned above the state has never prosecuted anyone for voter fraud. Finally, there is this central dishonesty in the majority opinion that “minority” is mentioned only once and that in passing without further reference. This omission is deliberate since addressing the effects of the Indiana law on minorities would raise voting rights questions that the Court for all its legal gymnastics could not duck. What the Court is engaged in here is the promotion of a voter suppression scheme (see item 101), one whose effects if they had been primarily on Republicans the Court would never have signed off on. This is the state of law and the courts in 2008.

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