POLITICS
10/18/2013 11:26 am ET | Updated Oct 18, 2013

John Paul Stevens: Despite Supreme Court Decision, Still Not A 'Fan' Of Voter ID Laws

WASHINGTON -- Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens says he stands by his 2008 decision to uphold a controversial voter identification law in Indiana, despite his concerns about the proliferation of similar laws in other states.

Stevens previously declined interview requests on the topic. But he spoke with The Wall Street Journal this week after Judge Richard Posner told HuffPost Live's Mike Sacks that he regretted writing the preceding appeals court decision leaving the law in place.

Posner, a judge in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, wrote the decision in 2007 and it was later upheld by Stevens and the Supreme Court, the Journal reported. The Indiana law required all voters to have a government-issued photo ID. More than 30 states nationwide require voters to display ID at the polls; opponents of such laws hold that they only disenfranchise voters, while supporters consider them necessary to prevent fraud.

Stevens told the Journal he isn't "a fan of voter ID" and wasn't when he wrote the opinion. His opinion was "state-specific and record-specific" and "should not be taken as authority that voter-ID laws are always OK," said Stevens.

"At the time of the Indiana arguments, we understood it was a party-line vote [by Indiana lawmakers] and it was perfectly clear the Republicans thought they would get an advantage out of it," Stevens said. He said the constitutionality didn't turn "on the motive of the Legislature "even though the motives were bad."

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