Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse livened up the soporific Friday evening PBS program Washington Week in Review, the weekend before the Supreme Court began its term by taking sides (the same side as the paper's liberal editorial page) on an upcoming court case from Indiana involving requiring voters to present photo identification at polling places. Conservatives mostly support such laws, which are becoming more popular, saying it will decrease the likelihood of voter fraud; liberals say it discriminates against the poor who don't have picture ID or can't afford it.
Host Gwen Ifill: "The Supreme Court agreed this week to reenter that debate. At issue are laws in more than 20 states that require voters to present government issued ID at polling places, whether it's unconstitutional. How did this case bubble up to the court? Linda?"
New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse: "Well, like a lot of cases this comes from the state of
Gwen Ifill: "What is objectionable about that? It doesn't seem unreasonable on its face."
Greenhouse: "Well, what's objectionable about it is what kinds of IDs are people likely to have? If it's state issued, it's a driver's license - not everybody has one. If it's federally issued, it's a passport. There's not a photo on your Social Security card. There's not a photo. So the disparate impact of a law like this falls on the elderly, the poor, people with disabilities, and so on. And the