Attorney General Eric Holder’s offensive against voter-identification laws — blocking commonsense new laws in some states — flunks a civil rights sniff test and flies in the face of U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
Pennsylvania, with its brand-new voter-ID law, should pay close attention.
Mr. Holder’s supposed trump card, at least in the South, is Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. It gave (past tense intended) the Justice Department oversight of Southern states that endured widespread voter suppression — about 50 years ago.
The Supreme Court upheld that provision in 1966 because of racial tensions then. But the court made clear that Section 5 no longer would be constitutionally enforceable after American society progressed beyond such struggles, according to former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski, a faculty member at Liberty University School of Law.
Even more pertinent is Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, in which the Supreme Court in 2008 upheld Indiana’s voter-ID law. The court ruled that the “State’s stated interests are sufficient to sustain that minimal burden.” Moreover, “Public confidence in the integrity of the electoral process has independent significance ….”
The states have spoken. So have the courts. Holder’s case is feeble.
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