January 09, 2008

"Court Hears Indiana Voter ID Case"

AP offers this first report from oral argument. The key passages: "'You want us to invalidate the statute because of minimal inconvenience?' Justice Anthony Kennedy said near the end of an hour-long argument. Kennedy, often a key vote, appeared more willing than some to consider changes to the law."

"Justice Samuel Alito, who appeared more sympathetic to Indiana's case [than Justice Souter], posed the question that troubled several justices. With little evidence of fraud or of voters who have been kept from voting, Alito said, 'The problem I have is, where do you draw the line? There is nothing to quantify the extent of the problem or the extent of the burden.'"

Lyle Denniston has now posted The Partisan Elephant Unnoticed in the Room at SCOTUSblog. He writes: "In a notable way, therefore, it appeared that -- once more-- Justice Anthony M. Kennedy may hold the vote that controls the outcome. He displayed some skepticism about the challenge to Indiana's law, somewhat impatiently suggesting at one point that the challengers would oppose any kind of voter ID requirement other than a simple signature match at the polling place. Kennedy seemed ultimately to be looking for ways to assure voters who demonstrably would be significantly burdened by the law they they could challenge it, perhaps even before election day came around."

Posted by Rick Hasen at January 9, 2008 09:21 AM