Thanks for Telling Us Now...

Josh Gerstein of Politico reports that the Federal Judge who decided the Indiana voter identification now has said that he did not understand the case before deciding this issue. 

In an interview Friday on HuffPostLive, Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner said his opinion finding the Indiana law constitutional was mistaken, due to the court not having sufficient information about how the law could be used to prevent or discourage people from voting.

This goes back to 2006 case before all these states including Ohio jumped on board.  At the time of this ruling there were only three states that were forcing voters to show ID in order to vote now there are 15.  This decision was upheld by the US Supreme Court in 2008 opening the flood gates, and now the judge who authored the decision said that he did not have enough information.   He had at the disposal the entire federal court system.  Judge Posner could have ordered an in depth examination of the motives and the possible results of requiring identification.  He could have ordered an academic study.  In the end, he could have sided with keeping voting open over protecting against some non-existent threat to the integrity of the election. 

"Do you think that the court got this one wrong?" HuffPo's Mike Sacks asked.

"Yes. Absolutely. And the problem is that there hadn’t been that much activity with voter identification," Posner said. "Maybe we should have been more imaginative….We weren’t really given strong indications that requiring additional voter identification would actually disfranchise people entitled to vote."

Posner authored the 2-1 opinion in Crawford v. Marion County, which likely influenced the Supreme Court in its 6-3 decision upholding the statute in the same case.

How could anyone not see that any further barriers to voting would mean that it was harder to vote and fewer people would participate?  How do the lawyers for the Crawford feel now?  They should have given "stronger indications" that requiring identification would disenfranchise voters.  If they had demonstrated the harm that this law would cause, they could have stopped this trend of developing ways to stop people from voting reversing the 40 year trend of expanding the number of people eligible to vote.  We are moving back to the Jim Crow era when poor people had a difficult time participating in democracy.

We judges and lawyers, we don’t know enough about the subject matters that we regulate, right? And that if the lawyers had provided us with a lot of information about the abuse of voter identification laws, this case would have been decided differently."

We need federal judges with more imagination and more guts to stand up to governement to solve problems that do not really exist.  There was no problem with non citizens voting or people not eligible to vote to cast a ballot.  There is only one explanation for the voter identification laws and that is to give advantage to one political party that does not expect to get the votes of the individuals who are being disenfranchised. 

Brian Davis

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