Monday, April 28, 2008

can i see some id?

At some point it was either Andrew Sullivan or another commentator that remarked, concerning gay marriage, that “I don’t have to justify my civil rights.” There’s a ton you can read into that little phrase and all of it should be good. No one should have to stand up and defend their right to vote, marry, speak their mind, write what they think, create their art, sing their song, or dance their dance. Unless there is proof positive that an action is harmful or detrimental to society then there can’t be a law that forbids that action.

The Court decided today, if that’s a reflection of what happened (it seemed more a 3-3-3 split…Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts together...surprise!), that you must have photo ID to vote in Indiana. I ran through my little mind’s input when this was argued but now you can read commentary on the result – as if you will. Slate has some blogging from their folks, Michelle Malkin pipes in (I’ve got to be fair), and scotusblog adds a few shillings to the fray. What I found most interesting was the scotusblog bits about this really being a Republican-driven action in order to…make up your own mind.

This is a case that fully limits facial challenges to the court. The facial bit (I live with a lawyer-to-be) means that you cannot challenge a law that adversely affects you until you can prove that you’ve been adversely affected by some inane law (I can’t help it). Think about challenges to the separate but equal idea for schools – under the current Court they’d tell you that in order to challenge that law as unconstitutional you’d have to prove that discrimination is wrong after the fact – let us discriminate and they you prove it…dare you! Passing a law that discriminates is fine because it isn’t hurting anyone unless they tell us it’s hurting them. That’s a very nice modus operandi.

“Okay, Here’s what I’m going to do for you – I’m going to punch you in the face. Don’t worry, it’s okay until the point-in-time where you tell me it really hurts like a son-of-a-bitch. What? You think it’ll hurt and you don’t want me to do it? Sorry, doesn’t work – you don’t know it’ll hurt until it does hurt so standstill and so let’s give it a go….”

One last nugget: it’s not just a photo ID, it’s a photo ID with an expiration date. My retired military ID card (as I’ve already pointed out) has no expiration date so I can’t use it to vote in Indiana.

Ah, sign of our times.


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