Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Holder Resorts to Race-Baiting in Opposing Voter ID Proposal

 

Just when you think he cannot get any worse, Attorney General Eric Holder exceeds expectations once more. Now he is grasping the race card in the fight over Voter ID laws because the Obama Administration’s position has virtually no constitutional support. In remarks to the NAACP in Houston yesterday, Holder compared Texas’ proposal to require voters to show a valid ID to the era of segregation:

“Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them—and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them,” he said. “We call those poll taxes.”

Obviously the Jim Crow laws were an evil, and Congress was right to enact the 1965 Voting Rights Act to extirpate them. But to claim that requiring an ID to vote is a poll tax is just race-baiting. That should be beneath the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. Is being required to show ID when you cash a check, rent a car, buy a drink or cigarette, or board a plane in the South just more segregation too? And Holder surely knows that in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, decided in just 2008, the Supreme Court upheld an Indiana voter ID law. But Holder has repeatedly shown a willingness both to resort to race when his arguments are weak on the merits, and to live in a 1960s time warp that ignores the great strides in relations between the races since then, as I argued here.

If one were to give Holder more credit than he is due, one could argue that the Indiana and Texas laws are treated differently because the 1965 Voting Rights Act places tougher standards on the states that had segregation — under the Act, they cannot make any changes to their electoral systems without approval of the Justice Department or a federal court. Conservatives have argued that the conditions in the South have changed so much over the last 45 years that the Act’s undeniable intrusion into state sovereignty is no longer justified. Treating Texas differently from Indiana on such a commonsense matter as requiring an ID before exercising one of the most important duties of a citizen (by the way, do we allow people to serve on a jury or in the military, pick up their government benefits, or enter a government building without an ID?), will only underscore for the Supreme Court that the constitutional foundations for the Voting Rights Act and, more broadly, racial preferences such as affirmative action, have substantially eroded. 

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  1. Mendel Member
    Mendel Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    There is a very simple, but uncomfortable way to dispel the notion that voter ID laws are racially driven: just admit that they are politically driven.

    The vast majority of voter ID initiatives have been Republican-led. Is this because Republicans are inherently racist? Absolutely not. It’s because experience has demonstrated that ID-less voters tend to vote overwhelmingly for Democrats – whether those voters also happen to be black, white, green or purple plays no role whatsoever. 

    Voter ID laws are a legal and justifiable method of stacking the deck in Republicans’ favor in exactly the same way that Motor Voter laws legally and justifiably stack the deck in the Democrats’ favor. No one will ever say as much, but it’s the most solid argument against the claim that these laws are racially motivated.

    • #1
    • July 12, 2012, at 1:22 AM PDT
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  2. Mendel Member
    Mendel Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    And before my last comment gets me booted from Ricochet, let me say that I am in favor of voter ID laws. But if there was ever a justification for compromise and government subsidies, this is it:

    Establish cost-free photo IDs which are valid for voting only, provide locations outside of DMVs to obtain these IDs, mandate that employers allow employees to use company time to obtain these IDs (similar to voting leave), and require states to accept IDs which are obviously genuine yet contain slight errors (such as inevitable clerical errors).

    Of course there is a higher chance that Obama repeals the PPACA than that this proposal will be enacted.

    • #2
    • July 12, 2012, at 1:23 AM PDT
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  3. Tommy De Seno Contributor

    Take away the argument from him by giving the card for free to anyone who qualifies for public assistance. Anyone who doesn’t qualify for public assitance can afford one.

    • #3
    • July 12, 2012, at 1:47 AM PDT
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  4. flownover Member

    Codependency = panthers.jpg

    • #4
    • July 12, 2012, at 2:41 AM PDT
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  5. DrewInWisconsin Doesn't C… Coolidge
    Tommy De Seno: Take away the argument from him by giving the card for free to anyone who qualifies for public assistance.

    Heck, when we passed Voter ID here in Wisconsin, we tried to give them away for free to anyone who needed one. We are still called racists.

    • #5
    • July 12, 2012, at 2:46 AM PDT
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  6. Keith Rice Inactive

    Maybe I’m being presumptuous here, but isn’t voter fraud a respected Democratic institution? Any ridiculous position to stand against voter ID is certainly preferable to losing a political contest.

    • #6
    • July 12, 2012, at 3:26 AM PDT
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  7. Mothership_Greg Inactive

    Professor Yoo, you haven’t been paying enough attention to Mr. Holder if this surprises you at all.

    • #7
    • July 12, 2012, at 3:44 AM PDT
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  8. ConservativeWanderer Inactive
    billy

    I don’t feel much dislike or anger anymore at this administration; merely disgust.

    I’m not old enough to remember any president before Reagan, so for any of you who do, have we had an administration this bad?

    That is, one so cravenly partisan and so blatantly demagogic? · 3 hours ago

    Carter was the worst prior to this… but Obama passed Carter territory long ago.

    • #8
    • July 12, 2012, at 4:11 AM PDT
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  9. Skip London Inactive

    A couple of years ago I was mildly in favor of voter id laws. The vehemence of the opposition has made me much more strongly in favor. Why would the reaction be so over the top if there was not widespread fraud that affected the outcome of elections?

    • #9
    • July 12, 2012, at 6:01 AM PDT
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  10. Profile Photo Member

    You have to go back to Bull Connor to find a more racially divisive figure than Holder.

    • #10
    • July 12, 2012, at 8:22 AM PDT
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  11. Overdraught Inactive

    I read that you had to show a picture ID to get in to hear Holder talk about how bad voter ID was!

    • #11
    • July 12, 2012, at 12:10 PM PDT
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  12. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive
    Overdraught: I read that you had to show a picture ID to get in to hear Holder talk about how bad voter ID was! · 1 minute ago

    Yes.

    • #12
    • July 12, 2012, at 12:13 PM PDT
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  13. Mel Foil Inactive

    In this country, to be an adult, eligible to vote, and not have a photo ID, you almost have to be a kidnap victim that’s not allowed to leave the house. And if you’re not a kidnap victim, you certainly don’t drive a car, or have a bank account, or have insurance, or go to the doctor, or drink alcoholic beverages, or smoke, or stray very far from your stove-heated log cabin in the woods.

    • #13
    • July 12, 2012, at 12:14 PM PDT
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  14. billy Inactive

    Just when you think he cannot get any worse, Attorney General Eric Holder exceeds expectations once more.

    I don’t feel much dislike or anger anymore at this administration; merely disgust.

    I’m not old enough to remember any president before Reagan, so for any of you who do, have we had an administration this bad?

    That is, one so cravenly partisan and so blatantly demagogic?

    • #14
    • July 12, 2012, at 12:26 PM PDT
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  15. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive
    Mel Foil: In this country, to be an adult, eligible to vote, and not have a photo ID, you almost have to be a kidnap victim that’s not allowed to leave the house. And if you’re not a kidnap victim, you certainly don’t drive a car, or have a bank account, or have insurance, or go to the doctor, or drink alcoholic beverages, or smoke, or stray very far from your stove-heated log cabin in the woods. · 12 minutes ago

    The only rational conclusion that can be reached is that they oppose voter I.D. because it can deter fraud, fraud that helps their candidates and positions.

    • #15
    • July 12, 2012, at 12:28 PM PDT
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  16. Brasidas Member

    Holder’s response to such a commonsense notion as requiring photo ID to vote is so outlandish, it makes one wonder what else might be going on.

    • #16
    • July 12, 2012, at 12:58 PM PDT
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  17. John Marzan Inactive

    Why doesn’t the media ask Obama if he believes what his DOJ AG is saying about Voter ID? Is it really about voter supression, pres Obama?

    • #17
    • July 13, 2012, at 1:54 AM PDT
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  18. ConservativeWanderer Inactive
    John Marzan: Why doesn’t the media ask Obama if he believes what his DOJ AG is saying about Voter ID? Is it really about voter supression, pres Obama? · 5 hours ago

    To ask that question is to answer it.

    • #18
    • July 13, 2012, at 7:27 AM PDT
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