The Republican court | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Republican court

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2008 at 6:39 AM

Interested in the photo ID law for voters, argued yesterday before the U.S. Supreme Court? You'll want to read a long account in the New York Times, which concludes the right wing of the court will uphold the law, clearly aimed at depressing turnout of poor (read Democratic) voters.

I think this passage tells you plenty about Chief Justice John Roberts.

Under the Indiana law, voters who are turned away for lack of identification may cast provisional ballots, which are counted only if the voter travels to the county clerk’s office within 10 days to show the required identification or sign a sworn statement that he cannot afford to obtain such an identification. The plaintiffs have argued that this extra step and required travel create an unnecessary burden that other states with identification requirements do not impose; those states do not require voters to make a second trip in order to have a provisional counted.

Chief Justice Roberts, who grew up in Indiana, did not seem to find the burden excessive. “County seats aren’t very far for people in Indiana,” he said.

Mr. Smith replied that the county seat in Lake County was a 17-mile bus ride from the county’s urban center of Gary. “If you’re indigent, that’s a significant burden,” he said. The chief justice also seemed unimpressed by the absence of known voter impersonators. “It’s a type of fraud that, because it’s fraud, it’s hard to detect,” he said to Mr. Smith.

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