by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The headline in an email promoting the Heritage Foundation’s “Insider” reads “Courts will find racism, if that’s what they look for.”
It sounds like a perfect encapsulation of Friday’s ruling from a Democratic three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals striking down North Carolina’s voter ID law.
It is easy to draw up a story about how the extra burdens of the voter ID laws fall disproportionately on minority persons, given that persistent differences by race in education, employment, and health are the norm today (in part because of the misguided progressive policies that hamper charter school education, place minimum wage and union barriers against minority employment, and block the entry of low-class corporate healthcare providers in minority neighborhoods). And it is easier still to select individual instances where the burdens of compliance are higher than the norm. But the central point is that nothing in the majority opinion stated, let alone demonstrated, that minorities who suffer from educational, employment, or health disadvantages find it any more difficult than white individuals to get the appropriate IDs. The sole objection was that there were more minority individuals in this vulnerable group, so that the disparate impact claim is always made out once the standard demographic information is trotted out. By this dubious logic, it is possible to order the removal of existing safeguards against fraud because they too have a disparate impact.