“To Guarantee Voting Rights, Enforce the Laws We Have”

This is my contribution to the NYT Room for Debate forum on a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote. It concludes:

Notably Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy did not join in Justice Alito’s troubling dissent (joined by Justices Scalia and Thomas) in the Wisconsin case, which would have allowed the ID law to be put into effect even though the state admitted that up to 10 percent of the state’s voters could be prevented from voting in this election.

Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit, who wrote the earlier appellate caseupholding Indiana’s voter ID law, has had a change of heart and wrote a blistering dissent in the Wisconsin case. Judge Posner, a Reagan appointee not known as a liberal, looked askance at the paltry evidence of impersonation voter. “If the Wisconsin legislature says witches are a problem, shall Wisconsin courts be permitted to conduct witch trials?”

Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy might follow Judge Posner’s sensible change of heart when the issue returns to the court. That would do more to protect voting rights than a quixotic quest for a constitutional amendment.

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