The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can require voters to produce photo identification without violating their constitutional rights, validating Republican-inspired voter ID laws.Following on the heels of the recent unanimous decision re: broadening police searches, this is extremely disappointing. At least Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and David Souter had the good sense to dissent this time.
In a splintered 6-3 ruling, the court upheld Indiana's strict photo ID requirement, which Democrats and civil rights groups said would deter poor, older and minority voters from casting ballots. Its backers said it was needed to prevent fraud.
It was the most important voting rights case since the Bush v. Gore dispute that sealed the 2000 election for George W. Bush. But the voter ID ruling lacked the conservative-liberal split that marked the 2000 case.
The law "is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting 'the integrity and reliability of the electoral process,'" Justice John Paul Stevens said in an opinion that was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy. Stevens was a dissenter in Bush v. Gore in 2000.
I've never had an issue with the law, but I'm someone in need and ergo possession of a valid driver's license, and, if I had the misfortune of losing or having stolen my license, I've got a passport I could use in a pinch. These are all things that diminish as the privilege of wealth and ability diminish, i.e. the poorer and/or more housebound one is, the less likely one is to have a photo ID, despite Indiana's making available free photo IDs to the impoverished.