Posner: I may have been wrong on voter ID, but the point was about about the dearth of data

by - October 31, 2013

Posner thinks some journalists who reported on his sentence about the voter ID opinion misstated his view of the case. “I did not say that my decision, and the Supreme Court’s decision affirming it (written, be it noted, by the notably liberal Justice Stevens), were wrong,” Posner says, “only that, in common with many other judges, I could not be confident that it was right, since I am one of the judges who doesn’t understand the electoral process sufficiently well to be able to gauge the consequences of decisions dealing with that process. “I may well have been wrong in Crawford, because laws similar (I do not say identical) to Indiana’s represent a ‘type of law now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention’ (emphasis added)—‘now’ referring to the fact there has been a flurry of such laws since 2007, when my opinion in the Crawford case was issued, and they have been sharply criticized. … “The point I was making in my book in mentioning the Crawford case was not that the decision was right or wrong (I was not, as one journalist has it, ‘publicly recanting’; I had not ‘switched sides’), but that in many cases judges can’t have any confidence in the soundness of their decisions if they do not have empirical data concerning the likely consequences of deciding the case one way rather than another. …

Posner: I may have been wrong on voter ID, but the point was about about the dearth of data

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