On Race and Voter ID, John Roberts Wants It Both Ways - the Atlantic
Whether one shares it or not, the chief’s perspective does display a certain moral nobility—an old-style determination that the state will never again engage in the “sordid business” of discrimination, no matter the clever arguments advanced for doing so. Proclaiming moral absolutes can be principled. It can also degenerate into preening. The test is applying the principle when it pinches.
Which brings us to Peasey v. Perry, the voting-rights case in which the Court issued its 5 a.m. order on Saturday. That order allowed Texas’ draconian voter-ID law, known as SB 14, to take effect for the midterm elections next month—the first general election to which it will be applied. It is customary to speak of SB 14 as a “tough” voter-ID law, but it might be better to speak of it as a discriminatory voter-ID law, inspired by the intent to disfranchise black and Latino voters.
That’s not my inference; it was the considered factual finding of federal district Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos. (Ramos is an Obama appointee, but one endorsed for the bench by Republican Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Cornyn.) Ramos based her conclusion on a nine-day trial in which both the state and the plaintiffs presented evidence about SB 14’s history and effect. That effect is startling—Ramos found that the law might disfranchise as much as 4.5 percent of the state’s eligible voters.