Bloggers on the Indiana voter ID decision and Miley Cyrus.

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April 28 2008 5:28 PM

ID, Please

Bloggers weigh the Supreme Court's decision on voter ID laws and gawk at those Miley Cyrus photos in Vanity Fair.

ID, please: The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Indiana's law requiring voter identification is constitutional. Bloggers debate whether such laws protect against voter fraud or disenfranchise the poor.

At SCOTUS Blog, journalist Lyle Denniston writes that the decision could be "a significant victory for Republicans at election time, since the requirement for proof of identification is likely to fall most heavily on voters long  assumed to be identified with the Democrats — particularly, minority and poor voters." Law professor Ann Althouse parses all the opinions, finding that Justice Stephen Breyer "emphasizes that other states with ID requirements are less demanding. Florida, for example, accepts an 'employee badge or ID, a debit or credit card, a student ID, a retirement center ID, a neighborhood association ID, and a public assistance ID.' Quite simply, Breyer sees an unjustified burden." And at Election Law Blog, Loyola Law School professor Rick Hasen, who filed an amicus brief on behalf of those challenging the law, worries many other states will follow suit: "I fear that, despite the Stevens-Kennedy-Roberts' opinion's best intentions, this opinion will be read as a green light for the enactment of more partisan election laws in an attempt to skew outcomes in close elections." Big Tent Democrat at Talk Left translates the opinions for the nonlawyers among us.

Conservatives are pleased. "Of course all the whining and gnashing of teeth from those in the Democratic party who willfully incite and participate in voter fraud won't be happy, but the rest of us in the real world cannot be disappointed in the decision today," opines self-described "Reagan Republican" Paul Seale at Arena of Ideas. Porter Good at Pirate's Cove has no problem showing an ID. "Seriously, what is the problem with knowing who a person is when they vote, one of the most important things an American citizen can do? You have to show ID when you write a check, when the cop pulls you over, if you want a beer or some smokes (if you look young enough), and so many other things. Why not for voting?" Libertarian law prof Glenn Reynolds chimes in at InstaPundit: "Seems reasonable to me."

Liberals are worried voters without driver's licenses will be disenfranchised. The Booman Tribune calls such laws "transparent efforts to disenfranchise poor people that live in urban environments and that rely exclusively on public transportation."  Melissa McEwan at Shakesville explains: "If I had the misfortune of losing or having stolen my license, I've got a passport I could use in a pinch. These are all things that diminish as the privilege of wealth and ability diminish, i.e. the poorer and/or more housebound one is, the less likely one is to have a photo ID."

Modern examples of in-person voter fraud are practically nonexistent, Josh Patashnik writes at the New Republic's Plank: "The only examples Stevens can cite in the footnotes are a colorful description of Boss Tweed paying people to vote multiple times in the election of 1868, and an instance of one individual committing in-person voter fraud in Washington state in 2004." At the Washington Monthly's Political Animal, liberal Kevin Drum adds: "Presumably these were the best examples that anyone could come up with. And what do you conclude from them? That's easy: in-person voter fraud is vanishingly rare while absentee voter fraud is, perhaps, a problem genuinely worth addressing." At Daily Kos, liberal Adam Bonin dubs this a "case reflecting a solution truly in search of a problem."

Read more about the Supreme Court decision on voter IDs. Slate's legal blog, Convictions, debates the ruling.

Oh, Miley!: Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus is catching flak for appearing in the June  Vanity Fair draped only in a sheet.(Check out behind-the-scene photos from the shoot with Annie Leibovitz.) After Disney, which produces her show, tut-tutted, Miley said she feels "so embarrassed" by the photos.

"If you smell burning synthetic hair today, it's probably a Hannah Montana novelty wig angrily set ablaze following the news that 15-year-old Miley Cyrus will appear in the June issue of Vanity Fair 'topless,' " cackles Linda Holmes at New York's Vulture, adding later, "Expect despair and heartache to set in as girls suddenly robbed of their heroine turn in desperation to astronauts, scientists, and even their own parents to find someone they can look up to."

Gawker takes a break from regularly scheduled snark to scold Leibovitz: "Does anyone—at Vanity Fair, among its readers, or even Annie Leibovitz herself—believe that the master photographer didn't give any thought to sexing up the 15 year-old pop star in those photos? That the bedsheet was totally innocuous?" At Buzz Machine, media blogger Jeff Jarvis blames Leibovitz and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter for running the photos. "She's just a kid with a sweet show that millions more kids — including my daughter — love. She didn't go out out on a Lindsay Lohan bender. She did was she was told. … But Carter and Liebovitz knew damned well that they would cause this fuss. So they used a young girl to get attention."

Read more reaction to Miley Cyrus' Vanity Fair photo spread. Slate's XX Factor weighs in on the photos.

Sonia Smith is an associate editor at Texas Monthly.

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