AMONG THE THUGS… So, it seems the GOP has won the first legal battle of the 2004 election. This morning, a federal appeals court overturned a federal district court decision blocking voter “challenges” in Ohio. Now, thousands of Republican lawyers will descend on mostly-minority precincts in an apparent attempt to guard against fraudulent voters but with the clear intent of slowing down the lines and suppressing the vote.

By the way, the district court ban was reached by a two-judge panel–one Democrat and one Republican voting together. The appeals court decision overturning the ban was reached by a three-judge panel–with two Republicans voting against one Democrat.

Yeah, it’s outrageous, and sickeningly familiar. But does anyone share my sense that this time it may backfire on the GOP?

UPDATE: Apparently, two can play at that game. Via Josh Marshall, a Democratic federal district court judge in South Dakota early this morning issued a temporary restraining order barring GOP operatives from, among other things, writing down the license numbers of the cars bringing Native Americans to polling places.

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Paul Glastris is the editor in chief of the Washington Monthly. A former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, he is writing a book on America’s involvement in the Greek War of Independence.