Abstract of the Week
Posted at 3 p.m. on Nov. 30, 2012
Rick Hasen has a fascinating draft paper on the “resurrection” of the arguments in the controversial Bush v. Gore case in the 2012 election cycle’s battles over more restrictive voter identification and early voting laws.
From the abstract: “The results of this litigation was a mixed bag. For example, courts approved some voter identification laws, rejected others, and put Pennsylvania’s and Wisconsin’s laws on hold for this election season but perhaps not beyond that. Overall, it appeared that in the most egregious cases of partisan overreach, courts were serving, often with surprising unanimity, as a judicial backstop.”
“In Ohio, one of the twin epicenters (along with Florida) of the 2012 voting wars, two important cases relied in part on Bush v. Gore to expand voting rights. In one case, a conservative panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit…unanimously held that Ohio’s disenfranchisement of voters for voting in the wrong polling location because of poll worker error violated the equal protection clause. In the other case, another Sixth Circuit panel held that Ohio’s contraction of the early voting period to exclude the weekend before the election, for all voters except certain military voters, violated the equal protection clause under Bush v. Gore.”
“The judicial reaction, from liberal and conservative judges and often on a unanimous basis, suggests that courts may now be more willing to act as backstops to prevent egregious cutbacks in voting rights and perhaps to do even more to assure greater equality and fairness in voting. However, it is possible that this trend will reverse in future elections.”