PA Supreme Court Ruled in Voter ID Case

PennDOT voter idFrom the PA Supreme Court:

Overall,  we are confronted with an ambitious effort on the part of the General Assembly to bring the new identification procedure into effect  within a relatively short timeframe and an implementation process which  has by no means been seamless in light of the serious operational  constraints faced by the executive branch. Given this state of affairs,  we are not satisfied with a mere predictive judgment based primarily on  the assurances of government officials, even though we have no doubt  they are proceeding in good faith.

Thus, we will return the matter to the Commonwealth Court to make a present assessment of the actual availability of the alternate identification  cards on a developed record in light of the experience since the time  the cards became available. In this regard, the court is to consider  whether the procedures being used for deployment of the cards comport  with the requirement of liberal access which the General Assembly attached  to the issuance of PennDOT identification cards. If they do not, or if  the Commonwealth Court is not still convinced in its predictive judgment  that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the  Commonwealth’s implementation of a voter identification requirement for  purposes of the upcoming election, that court is obliged to enter a  preliminary injunction.

Accordingly, the  order of the Commonwealth Court is VACATED, and the matter is returned  to the Commonwealth Court for further proceedings consistent with  this Order. The Commonwealth Court is to file its supplemental opinion  on or before October 2, 2012. Any further appeals will be administered on an expedited basis.

Full judgement follows the jump.



  1. burrowsx says

    The stance of the PA Supreme Court sounds ominously like the stance of the US Supreme Court in the matter of Bush v Kerry. In the earlier case, the Supreme Court ruled that the decision on a recount would be sent back to the Appellate Court, just as the PA Court had ruled on Voter ID. When the case was reconsidered and returned virtually without change, the US Supreme Court ruled that the recount needed could not be performed within constitutional time limits, and therefore refused to overrule the lower court.

    By delaying a decision, and returning the case to the lower court, the PA Supreme Court may simply be preparing to claim that there would not be time to implement any needed changes in the law, thus preserving the bad judgments of the Muscle Beach Republican majority of the legislature — while appearing to look deliberative and wise. We should by no means be declaring victory because of this order to “vacate.”  

  2. Publisher says

    I think Ben meant Bush v Gore, not Bush v Kerry.

    In any case, if the PA Supreme Court finds that there is not enough time to correctly implement the law before the November 6 election, then I think they will be forced to delay implementation of the law to next year.

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