Saturday, October 18, 2014

SCOTUS says use your ID, and other election developments

The last word for now (meaning this election).

The Supreme Court said Saturday that Texas can use its controversial new voter identification law for the November election.

A majority of the justices rejected an emergency request from the Justice Department and civil rights groups to prohibit the state from requiring voters to produce certain forms of photo identification in order to cast ballots. Three justices dissented.

The law was struck down by a federal judge last week, but a federal appeals court had put that ruling on hold. The judge found that roughly 600,000 voters, many of them black or Latino, could be turned away at the polls because they lack acceptable identification. Early voting in Texas begins Monday.

The Supreme Court's order was unsigned, as it typically is in these situations. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented, saying they would have left the district court decision in place.

The repercussions will be forthcoming.  Battleground Texas seems to have accomplished its task in adding a few hundred thousand Texans to the voter rolls.  The job now is to turn those folks out.

There will be some polling results to follow shortly, from YouGov directly and indirectly via the TexTrib/UT, perhaps as early as today or tomorrow but more likely Monday.  Unless they show some tightening of the races at the top of the ballot, I can't predict anything but a result that is woefully similar to 2002 and 2006 and 2010.  Harris County Democrats will be grinding out the GOTV efforts to hold onto their seats at the courthouse... and perhaps flip the DA and the County Clerk.

The EVBB for me begins Tuesday; at that time I'll go dark with respect to election commentary on the statewide and county ballot.  I hope to have everything I need to say said by then anyway. I will still be blogging here about politics -- probably have something on that pig castrator from Iowa, along with other US Senate developments -- but I'll take the edge off to remain in compliance with my oath as an election judge.  Same goes for Twitter and Facebook postings.  We'll mellow out with a little pumpkin spice whatever for a few weeks.

May blog about the World Series.  My buddy Gadfly's Cardinals got excused; I was hoping for a full orange and black Fall Classic myself.  That is, after the Angels and Dodgers got eliminated.

-- Greg Abbott's Twitter town hall yesterday blew up in his face, and it was, as Hair Balls accounts, laugh-out-loud hilarious.  Be sure and click on the #AskAbbott hashtag.

-- Wendy Davis lost the Dallas News endorsement but earned the Houston Chronicle's.  These simply don't mean as much as they used to, but let's be quick to point out that we still need newspapers badly in this underinformed and misled media environment.  Oh, and you can't paper-train a puppy with a blog.

Update: Some of my blog hermanos took exception to the DMN's endorsement of Abbott.  It takes a lot to drive Charles to scatological descriptions.  But I thought the Observer had the best takedown.

Elect Davis, and GOPers will be so mad they won’t cooperate on anything, just like what happened when Barack Obama took office. This is a really beautiful encapsulation of some of the most depressing features of American politics right now—a reminder that we do government primarily these days by hostage-taking, in contravention of the ostensible norms of representative government. It’s also an assertion that the hostage-takers should win, and a demonstration of why they will keep winning. It’s monumentally demoralizing. But applied to the Texas context, is it right?

What would a Gov. Davis look like? Well, she would probably have little influence over the Legislature. Assume Davis wins and so does Patrick—Davis would be able to get hardly any of her legislative priorities through. Patrick would be preparing to run against her in 2018, and his Senate would kill or mangle almost anything that bore her personal stamp. But Davis would have a veto which would prevent Patrick’s worst bills and initiatives from getting through.

But the Morning News endorsement anticipates something worse—that the conservative Legislature seizes the levers of state government and goes to war against Davis, refuses to budge on any issue, refuses to put together a budget, refuses to consider new and important legislation, until its demands are met and Davis effectively surrenders. In effect, if the people of the state elect Davis to lead them, conservatives in the Legislature—probably led by Patrick—will take Texas hostage.

So the Morning News’ instinct is to reward the hostage-taker, pay the ransom, and keep the state safely gripped by one-party rule. On the one hand, it feels like a pretty bleak misperception of how small-r republican government is supposed to work. It’s especially odd because the endorsement urges Abbott to be “a moderating influence” for his party—a bit like a liberal urging his radical-left friends to “work inside the system.”


Gadfly said...

You can always email me Texas-specific snark and I'll run it on my blog.


Orange-and-black WS? Giants-Orioles, eh? Hmm, could have been interesting.

Ned Yost manages like an idiot and he's in. Mike Matheny manages like an idiot and he's out.

Note to rich wingnuts: This is called "luck." It's a large factor in why many like you are rich.


Interesting that Breyer did not join the three women Justices on dissent.


Finally, back to Texas-specific politics. Check those ballots carefully, folks. You might notice a write-in line on both governor and senator.

Greg said...

The decision of the Supreme Court here should not surprise you -- after all, it is the same thing as was done not long ago in the case of the Wisconsin Voter ID law, namely stopping a judicially imposed change in state election procedures at the last minute. In Wisconsin that means no Voter ID law this time around, but in Texas it means there will be one.

By the way -- expect the Texas law to be upheld based upon the decision in Crawford v. Marion County. It explicitly held that requiring voter ID is not a poll tax as long as there are provisions in the law to give away a free Voter ID card that meets the requirement of the law. It also held that the cost of gathering the documents or traveling to get a valid ID do not constitute a poll tax.

If you folks want to overturn Voter ID, you have two avenues open to you, get state legislatures to repeal them or do what was done in Arkansas and get a state court to overturn the decision on state constitutional grounds.

Gadfly said...

I'll have something similar to the Observer up tomorrow; you may have seen my 2-part tweet to the Snooze already.

PDiddie said...

1. It doesn't surprise me. I predicted it a week ago. You read this blog often enough -- and comprehend what you read well enough -- to know this. So I would ask: why do you think you're telling me something I don't know?

2. This is another example of a repetitive tone in the comments you send: instructional in the most condescending fashion. Almost haughty. I've said it before, it merits repeating: there is nothing you think you know that you can teach me, or anybody else reading here.

Go to your church or your classroom for the satisfaction you crave in distributing your dogma.

3. If you contend something. then you should provide the source material that supports your contention. All authors do this as a matter of the lowest threshold of accountability. Particularly if you cite a legal case, then you should provide the link (another request I have made of your comments which you again fail to do). I'm not going to double-check your bullshit, and from now on I'm just not going to post it. And in the future, I'm going to delete without reading it.

If you want to keep wasting your time typing it and sending, that's your life.

4. I'm not fundamentally opposed to voters using identification. But if "you folks" want to keep passing laws that are suppressive in nature, then you'll find yourselves back in court again. "You folks" might do well to follow the lead of other states and pass a bill that can survive constitutional muster, as this conservative election law attorney suggests.

See? That's how you support a premise. You don't just have to take my word for it.

Gadfly said...

No, don't tell him to go to his classroom to satisfy his dogma; only his church. We don't need Greg getting more encouragement on polluting the mind of a captive future generation.