The latest court order blocks election officials from requiring ID, but not from asking for it.
The Pennsylvania voter ID law, which was partially blocked Tuesday from going into effect for the November election, has begun to resemble Bishop, the unkillable android played by Lance Henriksen in James Cameron's Aliens. Just as Bishop's artificial body kept being cut into smaller and smaller bits without giving up the fight against the aliens, the ID law keeps losing in court but staggering forward in mutilated form.
In the latest order, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson enjoined part of the law -- but he made clear that he was only grudgingly applying the mandate of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and interpreting it as narrowly as possible. It's easy to understand his truculence -- Simpson had heard argument on the law once, and had issued an opinion upholding it. But on September 13, the Supreme Court reversed that decision. And then, instead of deciding the case, they threw it in all its glory back to Simpson, instructing him to hear further evidence on the state's apparent refusal to make IDs available to voters as required by the law. He was then to enjoin the law himself "if the Commonwealth Court is not still convinced in its predictive judgment that there will be no voter disenfranchisement."