Bil Browning

Hangin' with the Supremes

Filed By Bil Browning | September 26, 2007 11:40 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Bill Groth, indiana, partisanship, supreme court, voter fraud, Voter ID

You may remember Bill Groth from his frequent comments here on The Bilerico Project or you might know him from his own blog at the American Values Alliance (where Sheila Kennedy and I blog also). By far, Bill has one of the brightest minds I've ever had the pleasure of picking. He's probably forgotten more than I'll ever know.

Seal of the Supreme Court of the United StatesBill hasn't been blogging as much lately since he's been a little busy - and he's about to get a lot busier! Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced that they would take up the Voter ID case that Bill has been arguing on behalf of the Indiana Democratic Party. Bill explained his involvement in the case in a post he did last month:

I filed the final brief with the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday, asking that Court to agree to review the highly controversial split decision of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld the constitutionality of Indiana’s 2005 law that requires all persons who wish to vote in person (the Law excludes mail-in absentee voters from the ID requirements) to produce a government-issued license with a photograph.

Among the remarkable features of this case is the fact that the State conceded that the General Assembly had no evidence that even a single person had ever been charged with, much less convicted of, the crime of imposter voting. The State defended its enactment of the Law simply referring to “reports” of such voter fraud from other states. In the past two years, every one of those “reports” has proved to be unfounded. In fact, it has since become clear that some of these “reports” were deliberately concocted and then widely-spread by Bush Administration political operatives to justify the enactment of restrictive voter-ID laws in an effort to game the political system in favor of the Republican Party. Congress is currently investigating whether at least two U.S. attorneys, David Iglesias and John McKay, were fired because they failed to play along with this political strategy.

Now that the Supreme Court has agreed to take the case, Bill will be arguing the case for the Indiana Democratic Party in front of the justices. What an honor! Congratulations to Bill for standing up for the rights of the little guy and fighting against the partisan maneuvers of the Republican party.

After all, these laws are aimed to curtail participation in the political process by minorities, the impoverished and those with handicaps. As far as I know, there is no requirement for anyone to have a state or federally issued ID - in fact, the right wing has jumped up and down for years with conspiracy theories about how liberals would turn the US into a UN-ran multi-nation conglomerate that would require national ID cards to brush your teeth. Suddenly they're in favor of forcing folks to get an ID card? Isn't that right wing logic for you? Especially since there's no documented cases of voter fraud!

The important part of this to watch is how it will affect the average American. After all, if they can keep blacks from voting again, will they stop there? The LGBT community is the right wing's number one target. They are constantly telling anyone who will listen that we've become this huge monolithic political force, so they'll take any opportunity available to blunt our political power. (Although if were that powerful, wouldn't we already have hate crimes laws, same-sex marriage and ENDA in our pocket? Just sayin'.)

Keep an eye on this case, folks. Your ability to participate in the political process depends on it.


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I've always been very appalled at the not-so-subtle racism of the Democrat party's position on this ID law. Is there something about black people that they are too stupid and unable to obtain ID's? I think not.

Last time I went to Family Video I had to present a valid credit card, a driver's license, verify my phone number and present a utility bill to open an account. I also saw a number of minorities present renting videos. They seemed perfectly capable.

Wow Kurt. Are you comparing voting to taking out a video? That's some respect for the democratic process right there.

Yay for Bill Groth. We should be fighting any law that restricts voting unless it is absolutely necessary, and this one clearly is not. The Republicans, as we've seen by how they try to restrict the number of ballots in urban areas (like Milwaukee in 2004), restrict access to polling places (like Ohio in 2004), and simply throw away votes in heavily Democratic districts (like in Florida), won't stop until voting requires you to show up in person in D.C., pay your $15,000 poll tax, do the secret handshake, and vote Republican.

Wow - so you jumped for the black = stupid line? Yikes.

No, I'd say that a lot of black folks already feel disenfranchised from the system. They are constantly hounded by the government (heard of driving while black?!) and have an innate distrust of the government for very real reasons. What's the first thing that happens to a black man especially when having an interaction with a cop? Show your ID and check for warrants - even when the black man is the victim - and more often than not any charges are minor and would have been dismissed for a white person. Instead, our prisons are overflowing with people of color.

As for the movie rental argument, renting at Family Video (How funny you'd choose that chain instead of Blockbuster, Kurt!), isn't a "right." Voting is a right given to all Americans. The video store can put any restrictions that they want on their rental policy. They, as a business, can decide who they want to rent videos too - don't pay your late fees and ID card or not, you ain't gonna be renting there anymore.

The right to vote is fundamental to our society. Our democratic process works because the population is allowed a say in our government. To disenfranchise a large segment of society simply because they don't have a driver's license is absurd. Lots of elderly folks don't have a license or even a state ID card. What does an elderly woman in a nursing home need an ID card for? Why require her - who, for example, might be bed-ridden - to get out of the nursing home and down to the license branch so she can vote. Which she could do from her facility before without leaving and going anywhere?

And the kicker is that this new restriction is being sought without any reason! There's not been huge amounts of voter fraud in Indiana. In fact, there hasn't been ANY! (Kinda remind you of the marriage amendment, Kurt? When was the last gay marriage in Indiana? Oh, that's right - there haven't been ANY!) When did the Republican party become the party of big intrusive government, anyways? Oh. When it started getting them votes.