U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court Upholds Indiana Voter ID Law
Posted Apr 28, 2008 9:27 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld Indiana’s voter ID law against a facial challenge.
The law requires voters to show photo identification before they vote. Challengers had contended the law improperly interferes with the right of poor people and minorities to vote.
Three justices said the evidence did not support a challenge to the law as written, while another three justices said the law imposed minimal burdens on voters, SCOTUSblog reports. The law is thought to pose more harm to Democratic voters, who are more likely to have low incomes, than Republicans.
Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the plurality opinion, the Associated Press reports. He was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Anthony M. Kennedy.
The law "is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting 'the integrity and reliability of the electoral process,' " Stevens wrote. His opinion said the evidence does not support a facial attack on the law.
Justices Antonin Scalia, in an opinion joined by Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., concurred in the result. He said the law's overall burden is minimal and justified.
U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement had urged the justices in oral arguments to reject the facial challenge to the law and wait for an as-applied challenge by someone who is actually harmed by the requirement for a photo ID.
Stevens' opinion, along with the opinions of three dissenters, leaves the door open to an as-applied challenge, SCOTUSblog says.
The decision is Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (PDF posted by SCOTUSblog).