University Expert Speaks on Supreme Court Voter ID Case
7-Jan-2008 3:15 PM EST
Newswise — On Jan. 9, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in a case that will determine whether an Indiana law requiring all voters to present a government-issued photo ID before voting is unconstitutional and unfairly impacts the elderly, the poor and minorities.
An expert at the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis is available for media interviews regarding the case.
Professor Michael Jude Pitts is following the case in detail, having read all 39 amicus briefs (more than 1,000 pages) filed. Pitts is associate professor of law and dean's fellow, and teaches civil procedure, evidence and election law at the law school which is located on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus.
With little precedent on the issue, "The Supreme Court is basically operating on a clean slate," Pitts says. An opinion in November 2006 in similar litigation from Arizona was resolved on a technicality. Litigation is pending against similar laws in Georgia and Arizona, and state courts in Missouri and Michigan have had litigation on the issue.
"The strongest argument for those challenging the Indiana law is that the State has failed to produce much evidence that voter impersonation fraud is much of a problem at Indiana's polling places or elsewhere," Pitts says "In other words, the State passed a law to fix a nonexistent problem.
"The strongest argument for the State is that the challengers to the law have failed to produce a single person who will not be able to cast a ballot under the system put in place by Indiana . . . the failure of the plaintiffs in this case to produce an actual individual who will not be able to vote under Indiana's system raises a substantial 'standing' issue which means the Court could well decide this on a technicality and the debate over these measures will continue to rage in state legislatures and in Washington."
Pitts' scholarly work focuses on the law of democracy, particularly the Voting Rights Act. He has published several law review articles.