October 01, 2007

More News and Commentary on Supreme Court Voter ID Decision

Though the Court just granted cert. last week, the Indiana voter id case has become one of the most talked-about cases on the new October docket. Writing in the New York Times, Linda Greenhouse notes the danger of the cert grant (as I mentioned here): "Although the justices granted the case at the request of the Indiana Democratic Party and the American Civil Liberties Union, the action could well prove to be an example of 'watch out what you wish for' if the result is to uphold the statute at issue and to encourage other states to follow Indiana's lead."

The Washington Post preview is here, with this sidebar listing Crawford first. See also this LA Times preview and this BBC preview. And in this NY Times editorial from the weekend, the newspaper writes:

    The court's hyperpartisan approach to the law is unhealthy. The reason the Bush v. Gore ruling was so damaging to the court’s reputation was that the justices appeared to be acting as partisans, tossing aside long-held views to reach the political result they wanted. Today, the justices seem just as political, wrapping their views on controversial social issues in neutral-sounding legal doctrines.

    The case that will most test the court's ability to rise above partisanship is a challenge to Indiana's voter ID law. Indiana is one of a growing number of states that require voters to present a government-issued photo ID. Such laws have been billed as anti-vote-fraud measures, but there is little evidence of vote fraud at the polls. The Republicans who have pushed these laws are trying to make it hard for poor and minority voters, who are less likely than other groups to have drivers' licenses -- and more likely to vote Democratic -- to cast ballots. The court has traditionally championed voting rights, but a conservative majority may boost Republican chances in 2008 by endorsing this disturbing barrier to voting.

    On Wednesday, the court will hear arguments in another voting case of particular interest to New Yorkers, a challenge to the use of judicial conventions, undemocratic institutions dominated by party hacks, to select state court judges. Lower courts rightly held this highly undemocratic system to be unconstitutional.

On this last case, Lopez-Torres, see the draft of Chris Elmendorf's ELJ preview available here and this lengthy report in Judicial Reports.

Posted by Rick Hasen at October 1, 2007 08:51 AM