Another Jewel in Walker’s Crown

Long after everyone has given up on any effort to explain in any detail the Wisconsin voter ID law the U.S. Supreme Court allowed to go into effect today, it will be another Famous Victory for Scott Walker. Since SCOTUS did not offer any explanation for this decision, the line between permissible and impermissible ID schemes remains somewhat vague, though 17 states have enacted new requirements since Indiana’s first cleared the judicial review hurdle in 2008. Negative federal court action on Texas’s statute could still force a substantive review by SCOTUS. But the wind is definitely blowing the wrong way for voting rights, particularly now that Republicans have gotten by the 50th anniversary of the Selma police riot without having to make any new commitments to do anything other than what their partisan interests dictate.

And that means the Wisconsin law can fully take its place, without an asterisk, as a jewel in the crown of Scott Walker’s conservative policy legacy, and another payoff for Republicans who figure he can duplicate his success nationally. It only adds zest to their enjoyment that this is happening to the state once famed for its progressivism.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.