Partisan activism: Despite court decision, Holder targets voter ID laws


In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision upheld Indiana's voter-identification law, declaring a requirement to produce photo identification is not unconstitutional and that the state has a "valid interest" in improving election procedures as well as deterring fraud.

The court "rejected arguments that Indiana's law imposes unjustified burdens on people who are old, poor or members of minority groups and less likely to have driver's licenses or other acceptable forms of identification," The New York Times reported at the time.

Furthermore, because Indiana's law was considered the strictest in the country at the time, similar laws in the other 20-odd states that had photo-identification rules were judged to have "a good chance of surviving scrutiny."

Since then, many more states have followed suit. Although Nevada still has no such law (in the West, only Idaho and South Dakota have fairly strong ones), 31 states now have voter identification laws, including eight that were enacted or toughened last year, USA Today reports.

Yet, largely ignoring the clear and decisive 2008 high court ruling, Attorney General Eric Holder is systematically challenging such laws in many states, dragging out the long-since rejected argument that such laws constitute some kind of conspiracy to keep minorities from voting.

Could such laws make it harder for some elderly citizens, and others who may not have government-issued photo IDs to vote? It's certainly possible, and when Nevada enacts its own voter ID law -- as it should -- some alternative means for a voter to prove citizenship, albeit something stronger than possession of a mere utility bill, should be allowed.

But the notion that in 21st-century America there exist powerful groups of elected officials who conspire to keep black or Hispanic Americans from voting on racial grounds is absurd.

The main reason for the proliferation of voter ID laws has nothing to do with attempting to disenfranchise blacks in the South or anywhere else, and everything to do with the intransigent unwillingness of Mr. Holder's own Justice Department to enforce this nation's immigration laws.

The Supreme Court has ruled that sensible voter ID requirements are valid and constitutional. Mr. Holder is thus practicing not law enforcement, but partisan political activism, designed to stymie the legitimate attempts of the states to protect their ballots and thus their constitutionally guaranteed republican form of government.

 

Rules for posting comments

Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Stephens Media LLC or this newspaper. This is a public forum. Read our guidelines for posting. If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon next to the comment.