The Kobach Case as Voting Rights Jurisprudence

March 21, 2014
posted by Bob Bauer
Make what you will of Judge Melgren’s analysis of preemption, or the hints of his constitutional stance on the federal-state balance of authority under the Elections Clause—his decision in Kobach v. The United States Election Assistance Commission is a mechanical exercise that leaves the reader without any sense of what this case is about. Kansas and Arizona have not merely made a “determination” of what they need to verify the citizenship of state residents seeking to become voters. The history behind this litigation is more complex, with more history to it, and the court knew it.  It chose, however, to follow example of the Supreme Court and to do as the High Court has done in other cases, like Purcell v. Gonzalez and Crawford v. Marion County, and leave the real world out.
Category: Voting Rights

The Court and the States in the Age of ID

June 18, 2013
posted by Bob Bauer
So this is the question being debated about the Court opinion in the Arizona voting law pre-emption case: is it a major victory for the federal government, or just a win in this case, with the longer term effects to lie more on the side of the states’ authority to shape voting rights in federal elections? Forecasts range from sunny (The New York Times) to cloudy (Hasen) to stormy (Lederman).