Thursday, January 10, 2008

Supreme Court Hears Voter ID Case

The Supreme Court heard arguments about Indiana's Voter ID case yesterday, and as Lyle Denniston of the SCOTUS Blog points out, there was limited acknowledgement the case was mired in partisan politics:

The Supreme Court, studiously avoiding almost all mention that it was examining a thoroughly partisan political battle, spent a spirited hour on Wednesday looking for ways either to scuttle a major test case over voters’ rights or to find a way — as if the Justices were writing a law themselves — to soften the impact of a tough state requirement for a photo ID before a voter may cast a ballot at the polls.

Only two Justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens — even hinted at the real-world fact that the photo ID law in Indiana is at the heart of a bitter, ongoing contest reaching well beyond Indiana. It is a dispute between Republicans worried over election fraud supposedly generated by Democrats to pad their votes, and Democrats worried over voter suppression supposedly promoted by Republicans to cut down their opposition. The abiding question at the end: can a decision be written that does not itself sound like a political, rather than a judicial, tract? Can the Court, in short, avoid at least the appearance of another Bush v. Gore?"

The full commentary and access to the hearing's transcripts are here.

I've mentioned this case before, though it should be noted that observers expect a decision of this case to come out this summer and not this fall, as I said previously.

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