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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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

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