ILNews

AG urges court not to review voter ID law

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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The nearing 2008 presidential election is a key reason why the Supreme Court of the United States should not accept a challenge to Indiana's two-year-old voter identification law, the Indiana Attorney General's Office argues in a brief filed with the nation's highest court.

Even while recognizing that the constitutionality of voter identification laws is a significant question that may eventually need review, the 29-page brief filed this week urges the court to deny a petition for certiorari.

This reply follows the July petition by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana asking justices to consider whether the state's law mandating in-person voters to produce a photo identification violates the First or 14th Amendments. In April, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals declined a rehearing en banc of the case Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, et al., No 06-2218, which challenged the law that took effect in July 2005. The 7th Circuit had previously affirmed a district judge's ruling that the law wasn't unconstitutional. Rep. William Crawford, D-Indianapolis, sued Secretary of State Todd Rokita and the Marion County Election Board, and the ACLU-Indiana had sued on behalf of those who could be impacted by the law, possibly to the extent of not voting.

The ACLU of Indiana points to the nearing 2008 presidential election and unresolved questions as reason to take this case, while the state contends the opposite and attempts to poke holes in the plaintiffs' overall case.

"Unless there is something inherently cert-worthy about all lower court decisions that uphold new voting regulations, there is nothing about this case that justifies this Court's review," the brief states. "No appellate court - state or federal - has ruled that voter identification laws of any sort violate the United States Constitution."

But even if that constitutionality question "were to be of interest generally to this Court," the brief argues this case isn't the right vehicle to address that. Furthermore, granting review now could "prompt a raft of last-minute voter identification challenges that would disrupt presidential primaries."

The AG's brief suggests the court wait until after the next general election to address this issue, as it would then be able to use election information as evidence on how the law's work.

"If voter identification laws are proliferating nationally, the Court should have far better opportunities for reviewing such laws after the 2008 elections when granting review will not precipitate emergency, election-eve challenges, and when an actual record of enforcement experience can inform the Court's decision."
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  1. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  2. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  3. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

  4. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

  5. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

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