In 6-to-3 ruling delivered on April 28, 2008 the US Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter-identification law declaring requirement to produce government-issued photo identification is not unconstitutional and that the state has a “valid interest” in improving election procedures as well as deterring fraud. The court rejected arguments that Indiana’s law imposes unjustified burdens on people who are old, poor or members of minority groups and they are less likely to have any government issued photo identification.
Justice John Paul Stevens, announced the judgment of the court and wrote an opinion in which Chief John G. Roberts Jr. and Anthony M. Kennedy joined. They observed that the plaintiffs who attacked the law, seeking a declaration that it was unconstitutional on its face, had failed to meet the heavy burden required for such a “facial challenge” to prevail. Arguments that the law in question may benefit Republicans and may work against Democrats, whose ranks are more likely to include poor people or those in minority groups, were also brushed aside.
Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. concurred in the judgment of the court and remarked that “The law should be upheld because its overall burden is minimal and justified.” Reason behind such remark could be that said law in question allows voters who lack government issued photo identification to cast a provisional ballot, and then appear at their county courthouse within 10 days to show required identification.
Justices David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer dissented. Justice Souter said the Indiana law in question, which calls for a government-issued photo identification, like a driver’s license or passport, “threatens to impose nontrivial burdens on the voting rights of tens of thousands of the state’s citizens.”
This judgement in discussion have much significance in US Election Law because approx. 20 states have similar law and with this judgement they all have now hope for survival.