JANUARY 07, 2013
As if it weren’t bad enough that states are wasting millions to defend voter identification measures against frivolous federal lawsuits, the feds are being punished for filing the extraneous suits and have been ordered to pay one state’s legal costs.
The story comes out of South Carolina, one of more than two dozen states that have enacted laws requiring voters to show some type of official photo identification to vote. The idea is to prevent election fraud, but the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) claims that requiring a photo ID at the polls discriminates against minorities because many are too poor to obtain them. The Florida congresswoman who chairs the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, says voter ID laws are a “full-scale-assault” on minority voters designed to “rig” elections for Republicans.
The U.S. Supreme Court has disagreed with this assessment, upholding Indiana’s voter ID law in a 2008 ruling that says the state’s interest in protecting the integrity of the voting process outweighed the insufficiently proven burdens the law may impose on voters. “There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters,” the nation’s highest court said in its decision.
Last spring the notoriously liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an Arizona requirement that voters show photo identification before casting a ballot. A renowned Latino rights group claimed the measure, approved by voters in 2004 to stop illegal immigrants from voting, discriminates against Hispanics because it creates a barrier for minorities that’s tantamount to a poll tax. If true, that would violate equal protection rights within the Constitution.
The rulings haven’t stopped the bloated civil rights division at Obama’s DOJ from wasting resources to legally challenge voter ID laws across the nation, most recently in Texas, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. Last week a federal court ordered the DOJ to pay South Carolina’s legal costs involving the multi-million-dollar challenge to a 2011 law requiring voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot.
The DOJ tried blocking the measure, claiming that it disenfranchises hundreds of thousands of minority voters who don’t have a photo ID. A federal court disagreed and recently ordered the feds to pay a yet-to-be-determined portion of South Carolina’s $3.5 million legal tab over the “unnecessary” voter ID litigation. The DOJ is responsible for the high cost of the case, according to a South Carolina Attorney General rep quoted in a local newspaper story. For example, the DOJ delayed the case by 120 days and filed numerous frivolous motions.
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