Republicans played against type
At the end of the day, a very Republican attempt to influence the outcome of the presidential election in Pennsylvania failed because of the very un-Republican way they went about it.
When Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson issued an injunction last week halting the requirement that voters present photo ID in the upcoming election, any attempt to suppress likely Obama voters in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia was blunted.
As it was, the photo ID requirement would have disproportionately affected urban voters, older and poorer, who faced more hurdles in obtaining the required identification cards.
For Republicans, a conservative bunch that prides itself in its businesslike approach to government, the collapse of this gambit just weeks before the election is disappointing. But an even more bitter pill is the fact that this signature piece of political chicanery went off the tracks because it was implemented in a haphazard, chaotic and very unbusinesslike manner.
There was nothing predictably Republican, nothing solid and reliable, about this failure to dot all the i's and cross all the t's. The type of documentation that was required became a moving target, even running afoul of Homeland Security standards at one point, and the information provided to the public was vague and contradictory.
Because of this unpreparedness, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided to send the case back to Simpson after he initially denied the injunction. The justices, frustrating the cynics by not voting along party lines, instructed Simpson to stop the photo ID requirement if there was any evidence that legitimate voters would be denied their right to vote.
And that is exactly what Simpson found.
There will be more battles, this having been a preliminary skirmish, and the issue of voter ID itself, not just the inept manner in which it has been managed, will be debated.
Opponents will argue that voter impersonation at the polls, the only form of voter fraud that the law targets, is virtually nonexistent, proving that there is no need for the law.
But there are a lot of needless laws on the books, necessity not being a test for constitutionality. The hard facts are that if you have the votes, you can pass pretty much what you want if you do not run afoul of our constitutions.
And in tough economic times, when money is tight for education and health care for children and other human needs, it begs the question as to why sparse funds should be spent on something like this. But if you have the votes, you can ignore that, too.
Joseph Sabino Mistick, a lawyer, law professor and political analyst, lives in Squirrel Hill (SabinoMistick@aol.com).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- UPMC researcher who died of cyanide poisoning committed suicide
- Penguins finally break through, defeat Devils at Prudential Center
- Sting highlights demand for Pappy Van Winkle bourbon
- Penguins notebook: Bennett a healthy scratch
- HOF finalist Bettis ‘behind everything’ in 2005 Super Bowl run
- Rooney says Pittsburgh is ‘good place’ for next northern Super Bowl
- Wilkinsburg auto dealer scammed at least 30 people, police say
- LaBar: WWE not backing down from controversy
- Monessen woman dies in truck-car crash on Route 51 in Fayette County
- Dungy, Greene represent more Steelers ties in hall of fame voting
- Charges advance for men accused in police scuffle at Fort Ligonier Days