AP: Supreme Court 'Splintered' on 6-3 Ruling Upholding Indiana Voter ID Law
Update (11:25 EDT): The Stevens opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, along with the Scalia concurrence and the dissents by Justices Souter and Breyer can be found here.
This morning the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling upholding Indiana's voter ID law. That law requires voters to present photo identification prior to voting in order to curb voter fraud.
Yet AP writer Mark Sherman cast the decision as a political victory for Republicans in a "splintered" ruling from the bench. Oh, and for good measure Sherman invoked the controversial 2000 Bush v. Gore decision that "sealed" President Bush's electoral victory, a favored talking point of liberals who argue the president was "selected not elected" (emphasis mine):
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can require voters to produce photo identification without violating their constitutional rights, validating Republican-inspired voter ID laws.
In a splintered 6-3 ruling, the court upheld Indiana's strict photo ID requirement, which Democrats and civil rights groups said would deter poor, older and minority voters from casting ballots. Its backers said it was needed to deter fraud.
It was the most important voting rights case since the Bush v. Gore dispute that sealed the 2000 election for George W. Bush mirrored.
But wait, who was it that penned the Court's opinion? It was none other than the Court's eldest liberal jurist, John Paul Stevens, no favorite of conservatives:
The law "is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting 'the integrity and reliability of the electoral process,'" Justice John Paul Stevens said in an opinion that was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy.
Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas also agreed with the outcome, but wrote separately.
Perhaps Sherman felt justified in calling the ruling "splintered" since only three justices signed onto the Court's opinion while Alito, Scalia, and Thomas issued concurrences. Yet while the rationales for upholding the law may differ on finer points of the law, the outcome is still the same with only three out of nine justices wishing to toss out Indiana's law.