SCOTUS and Texas Voter Rights
Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor joined Justice Ginsburg in her dissent to the recent Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Texas Voter ID legislation. Justice Ginsburg wrote:
“The potential magnitude of racially discriminatory voter disenfranchisement counseled hesitation before disturbing the District Court’s findings and final judgment. Senate Bill 14 may prevent more than 600,000 registered Texas voters (about 4.5% of all registered voters) from voting in person for lack of compliant identification. A sharply disproportionate percentage of those voters are African-American or Hispanic.”
I am not sure why this vote divided the SCOTUS by gender, but I do find it interesting. I wonder if it is because as legal scholars and as women, who went to law school at a time when so few women were going to law school, they better understand the intricacies of policies that are not in themselves discrimination are often intended to be discriminatory by their enactors because they know the results of said policies will in fact be discriminatory. In this case even though everyone has the option to get an ID the reality is that a greater percentage of minority and elderly voters will not have the actual ability to take advantage of this option. It also places an additional requirement or hurdle on the fundamental right to vote. Lastly, to me the real threat is that it opens up the door to future legislation where each state will require a myriad of different of voting requirements based on a political battle to disenfranchise supporters of political opponents rather than based on promoting community participation.
Especially, since the last few elections have seen so many recounts and controversies, I am not sure in the wisdom of making the process more complex than it is.