Supreme Court Issues Rare Correction In Ginsburg Dissent

225px-ruth_bader_ginsburg_scotus_photo_portrait130px-Wite-Out_123The U.S. Supreme Court rarely makes a correction — even when they are clearly called for by mistakes in law or fact. To their credit, opinions tend to minimize such errors (beyond those of judgment). After all, with the failing number of cases, the justices write relatively few opinions and take a relatively long time to generate them. That is what made it so notable this week when the Court not only corrected an opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but did so in one of her most notable opinions of the year: her dissent in Veasey v. Berry, which was heralded by many in its rejection of voter ID changes in Texas. Ginsburg wrongly stated that “Nor will Texas accept photo ID cards issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs.” In fact, such cards are one of seven different types of identification that can be used to prove identity.


The Supreme Court has refused to block a Texas voter identification law for the November election despite a lower federal court ruling it to be too restrictive and unconstitutional. The trial judge found that roughly 600,000 voters could be denied the ability to vote for lack of identification. The court of appeals however had blocked action.

The case was a major defeat (the latest such defeat) for the Obama Administration and Attorney General Eric Holder. The vote was 6-3 and the Administration could not even secure the votes of either Justice Kennedy or Justice Breyer.

However, Ginsburg reportedly did an all-nighter to finish her decision denouncing the law and by extension the majority opinion.

At least Ginsburg admitted to her error. Last Spring, an error was caught in an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia and fixed but never acknowledged. An similar error by Justice Elena Kagan was corrected but never admitted the error.

Source: NPR

54 thoughts on “Supreme Court Issues Rare Correction In Ginsburg Dissent”

  1. The Texas law excluded veterans cards, confirmed by Sec of State and co-author of law

    http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Vet-ID-holders-cannot-vote-1924290.php

    Since it was stuck down for violation of Voting Rights Act, it was a moot point since it was not in effect for 2012 elections. But it was reinstated the day after SCOTUS threw out a section of the VRA.

    Veterans cards were “somehow” added, even though that requires action of the legislature — which was never done. The Sec of State’s authority to specify additional type of ID was omitted from the law, so how was it changed?
    http://texaselectionlaw.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/sub-rosa-approval-of-veterans-health-cards-as-voter-i-d-in-texas/

  2. Paul-I actually stumbled upon my draft card/Selective Service card a few weeks ago. Don’t think the military is that hard up for manpower, so I should be safe even if they bring back conscription.
    Just saw your comment to Mespo re the White House ghost-writing it for him…..got a good laugh out of that.

    1. Tom Nash – I think as soon as I was no longer draft eligible, I put my draft card somewhere and I have no idea where. I am hoping that in case of war they realize that I look too old to be draft eligible. 🙂

  3. Sandi Hemming- My SS card doesn’t even have paper; they used stone tablets back when they issued mine.

    1. Tom Nash – I got my SS card out for something the other day and noticed that the edges looked like mice had been nibbling on them.

    2. Ha ha! I actually have no idea where mine is. They send the money. I guess I didn’t have to have it when I signed up. Stone Age? Nope, 75 years ago. What a scheme. Should have been restructured when the inflation hit and they knew it was doomed. But, still lumbering along. Part time workers may not get 40 quarters. SS should have gone to 401Ks, let the people off the hook down the road.

  4. A woman in Ohio was PROSECUTED and convicted for voting six times in 2012 (for Obama). Is a prosecution and conviction proof there is fraud? I think so. Another district in Ohio had more total votes than the number of people living in the district. That is in the court system; no idea how to resolve (it was heavily Obama). Is fraud rampant and destroying the country? I doubt it. But there is fraud. Should we ignore that? I don’t think so. We have laws that should be respected. Do all parties get fraudulent votes? Probably. I would prefer all votes be legal. Are you against that? And SS cards don’t have photos, at least mine doesn’t, but to think you and the government are the only ones who know it is ludicrous. It is the means of identification in thousands of systems.

  5. Voter fraud is simply a delusional contsruct of a losing demographic in denial about losing.

  6. Alan Tiger…..IF voter fraud CONVICTIONS are the sole measure if actual voter fraud, I’m sure that you are correct in stating that the amount of voter fraud is negligible.
    I don’t know if the “dead man voting”, or the “100%+ turnout Prof. Turley referred to resulted in any convictions, but I think it is likely that he can provide documentation for those irregularities.
    The estimates of Pew Center for the States are that 2.75 million voters are registered in more than one state. I have seen much higher estimates, but the Pew Center is about as non-partisan a source I could find.
    Additionally, they found nearly two million deceased voter still listed as registered voters.
    We look at these facts differently…..you seem to be confident that a tiny conviction rate should allay fears of significant voter fraud.
    I see at least the potential for voter fraud in a fairly large scale, and would like to see a “master national registry” with the ability to cross-check/share data between the states.

  7. Mike Appleton- According to a Dec. 30, 2012 USA TODAY/ARIZONA REPUBLIC article, 20 states shared data to reign in “multiple” voters.
    The article said that some of those caught would be prosecuted in Arizona.
    You mentioned that some snowbirds were known to vote in two different states…..HOW was it known?

    1. Tom Nash – they started cross-checking voter rolls. Snowbirds are headed this way now, just before the election and could have voted an early ballot in their home state.

  8. i have read mr. turley’s blog for more than two years. i only make occasional contributions.

    teabagger candidate for governor / texas attorney general greg abbot proudly trumpets that he has obtained 50 voter fraud *convictions.*

    http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2012/apr/17/greg-abbott/greg-abbott-claims-50-election-fraud-convictions-2/

    in 2012, 7,999,532 people voted in texas in the presidential election

    50 cases of “voter fraud” constitute .00000637537 of all texas votes … if they all occurred in 2012.

    but those 50 cases have taken place since 2002, twelve years ago.

    and of those 50 cases, not more than five (fact-checking reports vary) have anything to do with voter impersonation, or attempts to vote by persons not entitled to do so (which are different situations from persons who are not registered). voter impersonation and non-entitled voters are the only kinds of mischief intended to be remedied by the texas voter id law. five cases.
    in twelve years.

    that would reduce the above figure to something so small (1.06256167e -7 according to google) that i don’t even know what it is.

    i would say “lol” but this is truly tragic.

  9. Tom Nash:

    There may have been a couple of prosecutions over the years, but how can this sort of fraud be discovered?

    1. For such things as you, I can scarce think there’s any, ye’re so slight. – Shakespeare (Coriolanus)

  10. Mike Appleton-thanks for the info.Do you know if there were many prosecutions/convictions for the “multiple voters”, or was it just shrugged off as a “victimless crime”?

  11. Darren:

    No. A person can have only one primary residence and is a “citizen,” as it were, of the state in which the primary residence is located. Indeed, one of the arguments often advanced against voting by college students is that they are only temporarily residing in the community in which their institutions are located.

  12. Tom Nash:

    I know that over the years I have lived in Florida, we have had instances of snowbirds voting here and in their home state. We have also had people claiming homestead tax exemptions on their Florida winter homes while simultaneously claiming them for their primary residences elsewhere. That problem could never be addressed without a national voter identification system.

    1. Mike,

      Would voter laws consider it proper to vote in one state for both local and federal elections and only vote for local candidates / initiatives in another state where the individual has two residences?

  13. Steve H.:

    I assume you also meant “construed” instead of “conscrued,” but no matter. I don’t believe that I’ve ever argued that the ability to spell is an element of integrity.

  14. Alan Tiger- Don’t know if you read Prof. Turley’s Oct. 23 column “Thank you for voting”. When a woman finds that her deceased husband has voted before her, I think that could be considered evidence of voter fraud.
    When a precinct captain turns in more votes than a 100% turnout of registered voters could produce, I’d consider that possible evidence if fraud.
    The 40,000 + New York voters, registered to vote in BOTH New York and Florida, is at the very least suspicious.
    As far prosecutions, I’d have to research that. A jurisdiction that turns a blind eye to these kinds of “irregularities” may not be the most energetic in prosecuting cases of voter fraud.

  15. Mike,

    1. Her error was noticed by many people. See http://www.bradblog.com/?p=10894#more-10894 for a report on at least two sites claiming they reported her error.

    2. As I previously wrote, her comment about VA ID not being honored could be conscrued by Texas voters as a fact and could have impacted their decision to try to vote.

    If admitting a misteak is considered an act of great integrity, we have a very low bar.

  16. When social security was being debated by Congress, one of the objections raised was the potential for abuse arising from the issuance of identification cards. The public was assured that a social security number could never be used for any purpose unrelated to social security. We all know how that worked out. Regardless of the stated limitations on the use of any form of government identification, one may safely assume that they will be ignored in time.

    1. Mike – I got my SS card under the old system and I still refuse to use it as a identification number. I tell people that it was a contract between the government and myself when I got the number.

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