Commentary Magazine


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Wrong Again

Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the Indiana state voting law requiring a photo ID is significant for many reasons.

Some of the most noteworthy are the “I told you so’s.” The news coverage dutifully recites that the laws were challenged because of the alleged adverse impact on minorities and older voters. However, despite the hue and cry from the professional civil rights lobby and liberal legislators (including Barack Obama), no instance–not a single one–in which an actual person could not obtain the required ID was ever found. In fact, in the many cases challenging such laws, plaintiffs have routinely been stumped in their efforts to dig up a single soul who is qualified to vote, yet lacks reasonable access to an approved form of ID.

The next “I told you so” comes from the Bush civil rights division, or at least certain elements of it, which championed a similar law in Georgia over the outraged cries of these same critics. Writing for the majority yesterday, Justice Stevens praised the Georgia statute (which incidentially also had been upheld by a prior court ruling upon finding that no one had ever lacked access to one of the many forms of ID).

Next in the “I told you so” parade should be Hans von Spakovsky. Spakovsky, while in the civil rights division, fought doggedly to enforce existing voting rights provisions, including the Georgia law and measures to fight fraud. Now he, or at least his nomination to the FEC, has been held hostage by Senate Democrats exacting retribution.

Finally, this is one more instance when what liberal activists and their Congressional champions believe the Constitution says diverges sharply what the Supreme Court– sometimes with very healthy majorities–says it does. So the next time an expert on the Constitution spouts off, you might check to see how often they’ve gotten it wrong in the past. In this case, most of the experts were very wrong.