12 April, 2009

Equal Protection for Me, but Not for Thee

Billmon and friends raise some good points regarding why Cons may suddenly be getting cold feet about Coleman battling all the way to the Supreme Court (h/t):

Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.

Anton Scalia
Bush v. Gore
December, 2000

Fellow diarist Libertarian Friend notes that some of the asylum dwellers over at the National Review are experiencing intermittent flashes of rationality, which have led some of them to doubt the wisdom of the GOP's strategy of tying up the Minnesota Senate race until hell freezes over or the Obama Administration is overthrown by the Glenn Beck militia movement, whichever comes first. Ramesh Ponnuru runs up the white flag:

If [Coleman] keeps up the fight, he is likely to lose, unnecessarily deprive Minnesota of a second senator, end his political career seen as a sore loser, and hurt his party in a state that is eager for this fight to be over.

Ponnuru doesn't mention it, but I can't help but wonder whether the prospect of Norm Coleman before the Supreme Court, a highlighted copy of the 14th Amendment in hand, doesn't have something to do with his (and Powerline's Scott Johnson's) sudden conversion to cheese-eating surrender monkeying.

Maybe I'm wrong, maybe it was the electroshock therapy. But I've suspected for some time that conservatives would eventually have serious reservations about where Norm and his mouthpieces are trying to take them. Maybe it's finally dawning on some of them that making a federal case out this election contest risks a long-term disaster for the GOP -- one that would completely outweigh the short-term benefits of depriving the Democrats of their 59th vote.

After all, what Norm is threatening to do -- if he can't get his way in state court -- is to demand that the US Supremes go storming through the equal protection door they opened just a crack, and then promptly tried to close again, in Bush v. Gore.

But if we're really going to start vigorously applying the 14th Amendment to how votes are cast and counted in this country, then a whole bunch of GOP-friendly election realities are going to be open to constitutional challenge. How, for example, is it "equal" for poor and urban precincts to have 1/5th the number of voting machines per capita as wealthy surburban ones? Is it "equal" for election officials to routinely deny elderly, undereducated or inexperienced voters the assistance they need to understand complex, confusing and/or poorly constructed ballots? Is it "equal" for prosecutors to aggressively pursue registration fraud cases against ACORN, while generally ignoring those against GOP-leaning groups?

Can you say "disparate impact"? How about "protected class"?

Something tells me that's a road they don't wanna travel. Should be interesting watching them twist on the horns of that dilemma.

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