When the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago issued a critical ruling defending the constitutionality of Voter ID laws, Judge Richard Posner authored the decision. The arguments Judge Posner made for upholding Indiana’s Voter ID law framed the some of the key underpinnings for the 2008 decision of the US Supreme Court that, since it was issued, has been employed as a justification for similar initiatives in states across the country. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “a total of 34 states have passed voter ID laws of some kind.” Not all of those laws have been implemented, with a number of them facing court challenges. So it should count for something that Judge Posner now says that he was mistaken in his determination. Indeed, the judge’s rethink ought to inspire a national rethink — about not just Voter ID laws but the broader issue of voter rights.
In his new book, Reflections on Judging, Judge Posner writes, “I plead guilty to having written the majority opinion (affirmed by the Supreme Court) upholding Indiana’s requirement that prospective voters prove their identity with a photo ID –a law now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than fraud prevention.”
Judge Posner, an appointee of former President Ronald Reagan, is not stopping there.
In an interview with HuffPost Live, Mick Sacks asked: “Do you think that the court got this one wrong?”
“Yes,” replied Judge Posner. “Absolutely. And the problem is that there hadn’t been that much activity with voter identification… (The 7th Circuit judges) really given strong indications that requiring additional voter identification would actually disfranchise people (who are) entitled to vote.”