U.S. Supreme Court

Voter ID Law, Retirement Plan Bias Before High Court

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The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments today in two cases, one dealing with the constitutionality of Indiana’s voter ID law and the other with the legality of the use of age in retirement plans.

Indiana’s law requiring voters to show a photo ID barred Valerie Williams from voting in the polling station at her retirement home. “Of course I threw a fit,” Williams told the New York Times, but it did no good. She has trouble walking and was not able to get a ride to the voting office to prove her identity within 10 days, so the provisional ballot she cast did not count.

Her plight is at the heart of the challenge to the law, opposed by Democrats who say it is designed to discourage Democratic voters, who are more likely to be poor and lacking IDs. The Washington Post calls the appeal the “most politically divisive case since Bush v. Gore decided the 2000 presidential election.”

The ABA Journal has reported that some commentators have suggested banning voter ID requirements when the Voting Rights Act is renewed, but it’s unlikely to happen because of fears the law would not withstand judicial scrutiny.

The retirement case asks whether the use of age as a factor in a retirement plan violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, SCOTUSblog reports.

The plan does not allow workers to receive disability benefits if they have already reached normal retirement age at the time they become disabled, LawMemo reports. Older employees also receive lower disability benefits than those who are younger.

The voter ID appeal comes in two consolidated cases, Crawford v. Marion County Election Board and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita. The retirement case is Kentucky Retirement Systems v. EEOC.

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