Tags: Posner | judge | regret | ID

Federal Judge Regrets His Voter-ID Ruling

Image: Federal Judge Regrets His Voter-ID Ruling

Wednesday, 16 Oct 2013 11:05 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The Reagan-appointed judge who upheld Indiana's voter-identification law says he made the wrong call.

"I plead guilty to having written the majority opinion," retired Judge Richard Posner wrote in his new memoir, The New York Times reports.

The Indiana law is "now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention," says Posner.

Posner said that at the time of the ruling he had insufficient facts to make a sound decision.

"We judges and lawyers, we don't know enough about the subject matters that we regulate, right?" he told a law school audience, according to Salon.

"If the lawyers had provided us with a lot of information about the abuse of voter-identification laws, this case would have been decided differently," he said.

In his 2007 ruling, Posner wrote, "It is exceedingly difficult to maneuver in today's America without a photo ID. Try flying or even entering a tall building such as the courthouse in which we sit" he wrote in the majority decision of the United States Court of Appeals in Chicago.

In his decision, Posner acknowledged that "No doubt most people who don't have photo ID are low on the economic ladder, and thus, if they do vote, are more likely to vote for Democratic than Republican candidates."

Yet his implication was that it was not too much to ask such citizens to obtain photo ID in order to vote.

Posner's decision was upheld by a 6-3 Supreme Court in 2008, in a decision written by Justice John Paul Stevens, who, Posner noted "is, of course, very liberal."

Posner said the judges "weren't really given strong indications that requiring additional voter identification would actually disenfranchise people entitled to vote."

The dissenting judge, Terence Evans, was right, Posner said when he wrote that the law "is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic."

Related Stories:

States Plan Two-Tier Voting System to Get Round Federal ID Rules

Obama Administration Sues North Carolina over Voter ID Law

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