Who knew that urban voters have fewer rights than rural voters? Certainly not me, but evidently PA Commonwealth Judge Robert Simpson did. He refused to issue an injunction or strike down the PA Voter ID Law that was being challenged by the ACLU, among others. The plaintiff’s will take it to the State Supreme Court but it will likely be a tie (because one of the Justices is out of the picture right now) and the Justices are 3 Dems and 3 Repubs. And a tie means the law will stand.
I do wonder, however, if it can eventually be taken to the US Supreme Court (too late for 2012 and 2016 but maybe not for 2020). Here’s one good reason the U.S. Supreme Court might over turn it.
Judge Simpson relies heavily on Paterson v. Barlow, 60 Pa. 54, an 1869 case, and on Winston, a 1914 case that adopted Paterson’s standard.
At issue in Paterson was a law patently designed to disenfranchise Philadelphians; among other things, it struck anyone who boarded at a hotel, tavern or sailors’ boarding house from the rolls, and only let them back in if they could supply affidavits from two homeowners in their voting district.
But better yet, that rule, on the face of the statute, only applied to Philadelphia, along with a host of others. The court held that this differential treatment between Philadelphia and the rest of the state was constitutional because Philadelphians, simply, were bad people….
If you actually read the Paterson decision you will find that they are literally saying ‘city folk are bad and they do bad things that don’t happen in rural areas, therefore their ability to vote can be hampered as much as possible via unrealstic voter ID requirements and its all constitutional’.
Sorry residents of Philadelphia, you’ll just have to wait another 8 years before the case makes it way to the ultimate deciders, where the stupid law will probably be upheld because conservative activist judges (no, that’s no longer an oxymoron because of Scalia, et al) don’t want all the urban rabble to influence the election and exercise their God-given right to vote. If Pennsylvania ends up deciding the election and the vote is close, it will be the second Presidential election stolen by Judicial shenanigans. Can’t you just smell the freedom?
PS: If you enjoy poking yourself in the eye with a sharp stick, you can read an amicus curiae brief (“a friend of the court” brief) filed by a Tea Party member that agrees with this decision and says the same things as Paterson.