Jewish backing to overturn voter ID law


The U.S. Supreme Court appears unlikely to strike down an Indiana voter identification law that has drawn criticism from some Jewish groups.

In a hearing Wednesday, the justices appeared divided over a 2005 measure requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. The four more liberal members of the court appeared far more critical of the state than their conservative counterparts.

The American Jewish Committee filed an amicus brief in the case in November in conjunction with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the National Council of Jewish Women, and other civil rights and labor organizations.

“The most valuable precept of our nation’s democracy is the right to vote freely for a candidate of one’s choice,” said Jeffrey Sinensky, AJC’s general counsel. “The Indiana law places an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote by unfairly discriminating against particular groups such as the elderly, the poor, the handicapped, students and minorities, who are less likely to possess government-issued photo ID. “

The American Jewish Congress, which often works on voting-rights issues, decided not to become involved in this case. Its general counsel, Marc Stern, said there was some question of whether any voters had actually been disenfranchised by the law. Stern also pointed out that the 2000 Bush vs. Gore case made it explicit that there is “no constitutional right to vote.”



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