From the Justices' Opinions

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Opinion of Justice John Paul Stevens, joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy:

"Petitioners ask this court, in effect, to perform a unique balancing analysis that looks specifically at a small number of voters who may experience a special burden under the statute and weighs their burdens against the state's broad interests in protecting election integrity. . . . [O]n the basis of the record that has been made in this litigation, we cannot conclude that the statute imposes 'excessively burdensome requirements' on any class of voters."

Concurring opinion of Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.:

"It is for state legislatures to weigh the costs and benefits of possible changes to their election codes, and their judgment must prevail unless it imposes a severe and unjustified overall burden upon the right to vote, or is intended to disadvantage a particular class."

Dissenting opinion of Justice David H. Souter, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

"A state may not burden the right to vote merely by invoking abstract interests, be they legitimate or even compelling, but must make a particular, factual showing that threats to its interest outweigh the particular impediments it has imposed. The state has made no such justification here, and as to some aspects of its law, it has hardly even tried."

Dissenting opinion of Justice Stephen G. Breyer:

"While the Constitution does not in general forbid Indiana from enacting a photo ID requirement, this statute imposes a disproportionate burden upon those without valid photo IDs. "

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