The Supreme Court is perfectly ok with voter fraud in Ohio… (the Court’s opinion included)

Or so it would seem, at first, as they granted her a stay on having to implement a system to prevent voter fraud. (Malkin found it first)

Here is the extremely short opinion of the court (link to official site for latest Supreme Court opinions):

On October 9, 2008, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio entered a temporary re-straining order (TRO) directing Jennifer Brunner, theOhio Secretary of State, to update Ohio’s Statewide Voter Registration Database (SWVRD) to comply with Section 303 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), 116 Stat. 1708, 42 U. S. C. §15483(a)(5)(B)(i).* The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit denied the Secretary’s motion to vacate the TRO. The Secretary has filed an application to stay the TRO with JUSTICE STEVENS as Circuit Justice for the Sixth Circuit, and he has referred the matter to the Court. The Secretary argues both that the District Court had no jurisdiction to enter the TRO and that its ruling on the merits was erroneous. We express no opinion on the question whether HAVA is being properly implemented. Respondents,however, are not sufficiently likely to prevail on the question whether Congress has authorized the District Courtto enforce Section 303 in an action brought by a private litigant to justify the issuance of a TRO. See Gonzaga Univ. v. Doe, 536 U. S. 273, 283 (2002); Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U. S. 275, 286 (2001). We therefore grant the application for a stay and vacate the TRO.

*Title 42 U. S. C. §15483(a)(5)(B)(i) (2000 ed., Supp. V) states, inrelevant part:
“The chief State election official and the official responsible for the State motor vehicle authority of a State shall enter into an agreement to match information in the database of the statewide voter registrationsystem with information in the database of the motor vehicle authority to the extent required to enable each such official to verify the accuracy of the information provided on applications for voter registration.”

Basically, the high court doesn’t think the district court could rule on this because the high court doesn’t believe that there is a personal right to enforce the applicable provisions in the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). Or, in other words, section 303 of HAVA gives no way for private citizens or groups to enforce its provisions and therefor the Ohio Republican Party, who brought the case, has no grounds to ask for temporary restraining order forcing Jennifer Brunner to update the state wide voter registration database.

Unfortunately, after reading through the opinion of the court, the previous cases they cited, and, most importantly, section 303 of the Help America Vote Act it appears that my first impression was wrong and the court is actually correct on this. It seems that the Ohio Republican Party has no legal way of forcing Jennifer Brunner to do her job and prevent voter fraud. Sadly the law that the Republican’s cited just isn’t adequate on the enforcement end. (Hotair’s interpretation)

So don’t blame the court this time, blame Jennifer Brunner the hack whose destroying democracy. Then again she’s not the only one…

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Stephen Gutowski

Stephen Gutowski is an award-winning political reporter who got his start in 2009 when he founded this blog.

4 thoughts on “The Supreme Court is perfectly ok with voter fraud in Ohio… (the Court’s opinion included)”

  1. Kudos for a correct interpretation. I can’t help but to be impressed with the majority on the Supreme Court. They’ve just illustrated the modern conservative’s argument for a restrained court – even in cases that would potentially benefit the conservative movement and Republican politics. Now if the Ohio GOP could just find a good lawyer….

    I have a 1st year law professor that says, “all justices are ‘acivist’ justices. They all will interpret the law in ways that suit their beliefs and agenda”. Her reference is obviously directed at the more conservative justices who in her mind, falsely claim to practice restraint.

    I hope she brings up this opinion in class on Tuesday.

  2. The SC was definitely right in deciding in favor of Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and finally Obama is fighting back requesting a special prosecutor for an inquiry on the McCain-Palin campaign [and RNC’s] systematic development and dissemination of unsupported, spurious allegations of vote fraud.”

  3. Umm… No pedestrian. When the FBI is raiding offices in 11 states the allegations of voter fraud are far more than “spurious”.

    Also the Supreme Court certainly did not rule that the hack Jennifer Brunner shouldn’t do far far more to prevent voter fraud. All they ruled was that the Ohio Republicans didn’t technically have the standing to sue to enforce HAVA

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