Big Victory in Minnesota Voter ID Case Today

I've been counsel to Minnesota Majority in the Minnesota Supreme Court Case seeking to preserve the right of Minnesota citizens to vote yes or no this fall to adopt Voter ID there.  The ACLU opposed the right of the voters to choose.  Today, we won.

Here is the opinion.  An amendment to the Minnesota Constitution will appear on the ballot this fall exactly in the form that Minnesota Majority wanted.

I find footnote 8 of the Supreme Court opinion particularly interesting, and familiar (we tend to quote majority opinions around here, not dissents.  Maybe at some law schools, dissents are more worthy of citation):


Even though the parties in this case agree that the standard we adopted in Breza controls, the dissents would overrule this precedent. Because they refuse to adhere to our precedent, the dissents must then set forth a new standard. Justice Page’s dissent articulates no discernible standard. Justice Paul Anderson’s dissent discusses the “eye” through which the judiciary should view the ballot question and, based on the strength of yet another dissent, contends that we must view the ballot question with “a gimlet eye.” See infra at D-21 (citing Crawford v. Marion Cnty. Election Bd., 553 U.S. 181, 210 (2008) (Souter, J., dissenting)). If we overturned precedent based on nothing other than the desires of individual members of this court, we would become a country not of laws, but of men. John Adams, Novanglus No. 7 (1774), reprinted in 4 The Works of John Adams 99, 106 (Charles Francis Adams ed., 1851) (defining a republic as “a government of laws, and not of men”). But we do not disregard our precedent so easily. Instead, we require “compelling” reasons to depart from precedent. SCI Minn. Funeral Servs., Inc. v. Washburn-McReavy Funeral Corp., 795 N.W.2d 855, 862 (Minn. 2011) (noting that “[w]e are ‘extremely reluctant to overrule our precedent . . .’ and ‘require a compelling reason’ to do so.” (citation omitted)). The dissents articulate no such reasons, and we therefore decline the dissents’ invitation to depart from our precedent.

Minnesota Majority also defeated Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's attempt to replace the title of the amendment the Legislature passed.  The Supreme Court adopted all of Minnesota Majority's arguments.

 
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