PA Supreme Court Hears Case Against Voter ID Law

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The ruling is expected to come down at the end of September, and either way, will affect this year's presidential election. Although the PA Supreme Court is notoriously corrupt, there's also a reasonable chance that Chief Justice Ron Castille, a Republican, will side with the Democrats:

The legal team fighting Pennsylvania's restrictive new voter identification law asked the state's Supreme Court on Thursday to at least postpone until after November the measure that could disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters, many of them minorities.

"There's too little time, there's too many people affected and there's no place in the statute that guarantees that qualified electors can get the ID they need to vote," said David P. Gersch, representing the American Civil Liberties Union and other public interest groups.

The three Democratic justices noted the nonexistence of the voter fraud the law is ostensibly designed to prevent, and repeatedly asked lawyers representing the state's Republican-led legislature and Republican governor, "What's the rush?"

But even if the nation's top courts were once a place where partisan differences were overcome, these days they are more likely to be one more place for partisan battles. On Thursday, the three Republican Supreme Court justices gave little indication that they would overrule a district court decision last month that let the law stand. In case of a tie, the lower court ruling would remain in effect.

{...] Pennsylvania's GOP House majority leader, Mike Turzai, provided a clear view of the motivation behind the voter ID laws when he recently declared that the voter ID law "is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania."

Democratic Justice Seamus McCaffery alluded to Turzai's statement at Thursday's hearing. "There's no public harm that we can see [from voter fraud]," he said. "Could it be politics, maybe?"

There are some hints that at least one Republican justice could break ranks. At the hearing, Justice Thomas Saylor, a Republican, asked the state's lawyers whether the law guarantees every registered voter can cast a vote -- a question they could only answer in the negative. The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board raised the possibility that Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ron Castille might ultimately side with the Democrats on this issue.

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