Study: Strong Evidence of Discriminatory Intent Behind Voter ID Laws

Christopher Ingraham: “State legislators who support voter ID laws are motivated in no small part by racial bias, according to a new study from the University of Southern California. The study finds strong evidence that ‘discriminatory intent underlies legislative support for voter identification laws.'”

The study: “In the two weeks prior to the 2012 election, [researchers] sent e-mail correspondence to a total of 1,871 state legislators in 14 states.”

“The key to the experiment lies in that voter name field. One group of legislators received e-mail from a voter who identified himself as ‘Jacob Smith.’ The other received email from ‘Santiago Rodriguez.’ Moreover, half of the legislators in each of these two groups received e-mails written in Spanish, while half received English-language e-mails.”

“The researchers found that legislators who had supported voter ID laws were much more likely to respond to ‘Jacob Smith’ than to ‘Santiago Rodriguez.’ This gap reveals a preference for responding to constituents with Anglophone names over constituents with Hispanic ones.”


Supreme Court Rejects Request to Halt Gay Marriages in Oregon

New York Times: “The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a request to halt same-sex marriages in Oregon. The court’s one-line order gave no reasons for declining to issue a stay.”

The request to the Supreme Court that the decision be stayed came from the National Organization for Marriage.

“In declining to grant its request for a stay, the justices may have harbored doubt about whether the group had suffered the sort of direct injury that would give it standing in the case, National Organization for Marriage v. Geiger.”

The Supreme Court: When Conservatives Make Smart Choices

David Leonhardt: “With President Obama entering the final years of his presidency and Senate control up for grabs this year, Supreme Court transitions have again become a salient subject.”

Leonhardt argues that “the mistake” that liberals have made when making appointments: “They have surrendered seats on the court by being less strategic than conservatives with the timing of their retirements.”

“The six most conservative justices, based on their voting patterns, to have retired in the last 50 years all left the bench under a Republican president. By contrast, only one of the six most liberal justices has departed when a Democrat was president.”

“In all, Republican presidents have named 12 of the 20 Supreme Court justices since 1960 — even though the two parties have fought to a draw in presidential elections over that period, each winning seven.”

“When it comes to Supreme Court transitions, conservatives have been more willing to acknowledge these realities. Liberals, in the White House and on the Court, have sometimes viewed nominations in terms of their effects on a few individuals. Conservatives have recognized their connection to a larger cause.”

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Majority View Death Penalty as Morally Acceptable

Gallup: “The recent news about the botched execution of an Oklahoma death row inmate has not affected the way Americans view the death penalty. Sixty-one percent say the death penalty is morally acceptable, similar to the 62% who said so in 2013, although both figures are down from a high of 71% in 2006.”

“The case did not fundamentally alter Americans’ perceptions of the death penalty, however, with a solid majority viewing it as morally acceptable. This percentage is similar to the 60% who say they favor the death penalty as punishment for murder in Gallup’s October update.”

Americans' Views of Death Penalty as Morally Acceptable

Few Pardons Under Obama

Christopher Ingraham charts how President Obama has granted clemency fewer times than any modern president.

“For most of the 20th century the odds of receiving presidential clemency were about one in two or one in three. But starting with President Ronald Reagan that began to change. Under Obama, the odds are about 100 times worse than that: Only one out of roughly every 200 applicants has received a pardon or clemency so far.”

This may soon change: “The Justice Department recently announced new clemency guidelines.”


clemency by president