Monday, April 28, 2008

If God Had Meant You To Vote You'd Have Been Born White And Rich

We're coming to you today from the Fifteenth Amendment Room here in the marbled halls of IM Central. We're here to paint a big asterisk on the door. Oh, and that clanking sound you hear is the Forefathers spinning in their graves, and yes it does sound like someone put horse shores in the dryer and turned it on high.

The Supreme Court ruled that states can require voters to produce photo identification without violating their constitutional rights, validating Republican-inspired voter suppression laws.

In what could only have been due to an abuse of prescription drugs a 6-3 ruling upheld Indiana's strict photo ID requirement, which Democrats and civil rights groups said would deter poor, older and minority voters from casting ballots. Its backers said it was needed to prevent enfranchisement. "This is about our history," said one republican state senator who had supported the bill. "There was a time in this country when you had to be male, white and own land to vote. We're just trying to get America back to her roots, that's all."

The law "is amply justified by the valid interest in maintaining a permanent republican majority," Justice John Paul Stevens said in an opinion that was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy.

Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas also agreed with the outcome, but wrote separately in an attempt to convince people they were capable of independent thought.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter dissented due to the fact that they had read the entire constitution instead of just the Cliff Notes.

The case concerned a state law, passed in 2005, that was backed by republicans as a way to keep their jobs. There is little history in Indiana of in-person voter fraud of the sort the law was designed to thwart. "Hey, if we let all the people vote, what sort of democracy would that be?" Asked one supporter. "I mean sure, this is Indiana, but we still have our share of...well, you know...those people."

Stevens said that preventing fraud and inspiring voter confidence were legitimate goals of the law, regardless of who backed or opposed it. "And nothing inspires confidence or improves participation like creating more hoops for voters to jump through," he added. "Particularly when those voters are the least able to deal with those hoops."

Indiana provides IDs free of charge to the poor if they happen to stop in the Secretary of State's office and read the sign that says they can have a free ID, and allows voters who lack photo ID to cast a provisional ballot and then show up within 10 days at their county courthouse to produce identification or otherwise attest to their identity if they have their own transportation or that courthouse is on a bus route.

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