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Wall Street Journal Features Professor Cohen's Critique of Voter-ID Law Decision

September 19, 2012

Professor David Cohen shared his thoughts with the Wall Street Journal and Patriot News on the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court's 4-2 ruling to send Pennsylvania's controversial voter-identification law back to a lower court to investigate whether the law will cause voter disenfranchisement. 

The voter-identification law would require voters to obtain a photo ID before being allowed to cast a ballot.  Cohen, who teaches constitutional law at the school, told the Wall Street Journal that "[i]t would take miraculous lawyering to prove with certainty that no one will be disenfranchised by the law."  As Cohen told Patriot News, he believes the law is "extremely burdensome . . . and now they have to prove it’s not burdensome to anyone, which is going to be awfully hard when the whole point of the law was to put hurdles in the way of people voting."

The Supreme Court instructed the lower court to make a ruling on the case by Oct. 4.  However, it is dangerous to decide the issue so close to the November election because "[t]he Supreme Court is subjecting [Pennsylvanians] to massive uncertainty about whether or not they can exercise their fundamental right in a month and a half,” Cohen concluded.