U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is not about to let the Supreme Court get in the way of his boss’s re-election.
Mr. Holder is demonizing the growing, mainstream movement for stricter state voter identification laws, using their spread to stoke fears of racist voter suppression. The Justice Department gets to review new ID laws for compliance with the Voter Rights Act, and it’s clear that Mr. Holder’s Civil Rights Division isn’t going to sign off on statutes passed in Texas and South Carolina, or anywhere else, for that matter.
Never mind that 30 states — Nevada is not among them — require some form of identification from voters. And never mind that such statutes are essentially settled law thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board. In that case, liberal Justice John Paul Stevens joined the court’s conservatives in a 6-3 majority, writing that Indiana’s voter ID law “is unquestionably relevant to the state’s interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process” and doesn’t place unconstitutional burdens on citizens.
Mr. Holder clearly sees a political benefit in this issue. Falsely characterizing such laws as Jim Crow revivals furthers the Democratic Party narrative that Republicans seek to disenfranchise minorities.
Far from disenfranchising voters, a Wall Street Journal editorial last week points out that voter turnout has actually increased in states that have enacted ID requirements, and that liberal advocates have failed to produce a single registered voter wrongly denied a vote because of ID laws.
Requiring voters to prove their identity with a government-issued identification isn’t much to ask when the same burden is required to get a job, cash a check, board an airplane and drive a car. If we don’t have confidence in the validity of elections, we won’t have confidence in government itself.
Mr. Holder is the country’s top law enforcement officer. He doesn’t get to ignore the law because he disagrees with it.