I myself believed this one

The Wisconsin state court said last week that Scott Walker’s voter suppression law was okay as long as Wisconsin somehow figures out “administratively” how to turn it into something other than a poll tax. Free birth certificates for everyone I guess!

This is from Justin Levitt writing at Election Law Blog. I did not know this was also a myth:

“The Wisconsin Supreme Court also claimed that “photo identification is now required . . . to board a commercially operated airline flight.” The only problem with that statement is that — despite endless repetition in the last few years — it is still flatly not true.
I should know: in 2011, I flew to DC to testify about voter ID rules, without any photo ID in my wallet. Exactly as regulations permit, I got on the plane just fine. It wasn’t a fluke — it was precisely what the law required.

Proponents of restrictive ID laws often fall back on the argument that a government-ID requirement for voting is reasonable, because having an ID is a purported necessity in modern life. You have to have an ID to board a plane, they say. It’s a curious example they choose.
The first problem is that the example is irrelevant. Voting is at the heart of our constitutional order, guaranteed to every eligible citizen. Boarding a plane is a nice perk. The republic doesn’t crumble if the people don’t fly on planes.
But the example is also dead wrong. Actually, you don’t have to have an ID to board a plane. I proved this firsthand, when I had the opportunity to testify before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee just over one year ago, on the propriety of voter ID laws. As recounted here in an ACS brief, when I got to Los Angeles airport, I had no photo ID in my wallet, government-issued or otherwise. Instead, I had two credit cards, a firing range card, a health insurance card, a blood donor card, a coffee shop frequent visitor card, and a few business cards, all without photos. I was also carrying a checkbook.
The TSA officer at the airport check-in station examined my boarding pass, and asked me to step aside for additional questions; another officer reviewed my other paperwork, and asked a bit more. I was then asked to step through the (regular) security line, where my bags were screened, and a backscatter image was taken. I estimate that the procedure lasted approximately ten minutes longer than the normal procedure experienced by individuals in the same line who had photo identification on hand.
After clearing security, I enjoyed a beer in the airport Chili’s — without using photo ID. When I arrived in Washington, DC, I checked into my hotel — without using photo ID. I then made my way to the Dirksen Senate office building, and to the Committee’s hearing room — without using photo ID. Commercial vendors and federal governments alike have demonstrated that when it is financially or politically important to extend access even to citizens without certain photo identification, such citizens can be accommodated with minimal disruption to normal business practices.
Since my trip, I’ve often been asked whether my experience was a fluke, or a parlor trick. It was, emphatically, neither. It was policy — for years, the TSA and its predecessor agencies have consistently maintained a policy making sure that they can accommodate those without particular government-issued photo identification.

You may discuss why our learned judges believed this for all these years and never checked, or anything else you want to talk about.

69 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    I have flown without ID. Can confirm.

  2. 2
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    There are two upsides to this decision. The dissent by the Chief Justice (a state-level Notorious RBG) is a thing of beauty. And a federal court found the law unconstitutional in a way that makes it damned unlikely that the Supreme Court will hear the case – he applied the test from Crawford and stuffed his decision with a metric shit ton of factual findings.

  3. 3
    Kay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Yay! I was hoping you would comment. Now if Walker would just lose the election we’d really be rolling. I don’t care who Mary Burke is or what she’s about. He’s one person who deserves to lose.

  4. 4
    waspuppet says:

    The Wisconsin state court said last week that Scott Walker’s voter suppression law was okay as long as Wisconsin somehow figures out “administratively” how to turn it into something other than a poll tax.

    It sounds like the Wisconsin court just told Scott Walker to enforce certain aspects of the law and unilaterally change parts of it, which I learned this week is more un-American than a million Hitlers.

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Kay: I was upset all day on Thursday because of this decision and the one upholding the anti-union law. Thank Jeebus for Shirley Abrahamson and Ann Walsh Bradley.

  6. 6
    NotMax says:

    why our learned judges believed this for all these years and never checked

    Eppur si muove.

  7. 7
    Ruckus says:

    When I used to fly regularly I used my passport as an ID, rather than a DL. I got hassled much less and never had a problem getting through the process. The TSA, and before them the private security always asked for a boarding pass and ID so I also just assumed that it was a requirement.
    I also once watched a young Marine in uniform ahead of me get hassled and have to go thorough the scanner a number of times before they would let him board. That seemed almost as normal as the 90 yr old ladies that got everything but strip searched in the line in front of everyone before they were let through. The best though was when I went to grab my bag off the conveyer there was a semi auto handgun sitting in the handle. I came within a couple of inches of laying my hand on it when I recognized it for what it was. For a moment I thought my WTF and anger at the TSA for using my carry on as a test for their process was going to keep me off the plane but they just laughed it off. They stopped laughing when I asked what do you think would have happened if I had picked it up and a cop walking towards me had seen a citizen standing there with a gun? Then I called them motherfuckers and walked off. That’s when I knew none of it was being taken serious whatsoever. Theater, 100%.

  8. 8
    gogol's wife says:

    Open thread, so just sharing the news that TCM is going to do a big pre-Code festival on Friday nights in September. I hope Mnemosyne gets the word (I guess it’s a long time until September, so she probably will).

    ETA: Actually, not just nights, but all day every Friday in September.

  9. 9
    WereBear says:

    @gogol’s wife: Sounds awesome! I love the old stuff.

  10. 10
    Edmund Dantes says:

    Always been true.

    It’s helped out many a person that has lost a wallet while on a trip.

    Though I believe it’s still almost impossible to pull off internationally, but that is a whole other ball of wax than domestic flying.

  11. 11
    Gene108 says:

    I have to have insurance to operate my car, own my home, etc. What is so hard about firearms insurance?

    The fact the above gets rebutted w/ 2nd Amendment means no restrictions on firearms ownership just shows how blatantly a gimmick voter ID is.

    There are 4 Amendments protecting people’s right to vote, but they do not seem to be enough.

  12. 12
    Kay says:

    @Edmund Dantes:

    It’s always been really central to their argument because they do this odd thing where they say “this (relatively) unimportant thing requires photo ID so this important thing should also require photo ID”.

    They act as if we’re devaluing the important thing (voting), setting a lower bar. I think it’s confusing voting rights with a commercial transaction so completely wrong-headed and actually devaluing voting by comparing the two, but I recognize what they’re doing with this argument.

    The two sides are really far apart. We have a fundamentally different view of this, the access people and the fraud people.

  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Kay: I really think that the fraud people don’t believe in universal suffrage.

  14. 14
    🚸 Martin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Shit, most of them will openly admit to that.

  15. 15
    WereBear says:

    @Kay: Time was, psychopathic behavior was not recast as “normal,” as part of the American dream, as something we should all strive for.

    This is why that jerk Lutz gets the big bukz.

  16. 16
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:


    And there’s yer problem with elected judges, right there.

    I agree. Wisconsin is actually looking at changing the term of supreme court justices. A state bar committee is recommending a single 16 year term. The logic is that WI has a strong commitment to elected judges so appointment is off the table, but a single term would remove political pressure. Since the average justice serves for about 14 years, the 16 year term seemed reasonable. I don’t like the idea. I would prefer merit selection and appointment. But I wasn’t on the committee.

  17. 17
    VidaLoca says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    …but a single term would remove political pressure.

    Oh, bullshit. Thanks to Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the “political pressure” is baked in before the judge’s fucking term even begins. Now they want to make the term six years longer? Yeah, that’s a great idea for a reform. And it figures that the Bar is in denial about this basic reality.

    I’m not saying that you buy it as a reform, I’m just saying it’s a bullshit idea from the get-go.

  18. 18
    BGinCHI says:

    I am posting without ID.

    Wearing pants though. For now.

  19. 19
    GxB says:

    @Kay: FWIW the local wingnut run fishwrap had a poll on “If the election were held today…” and Burke won almost 2-1 (a whole 250 or so responded but this is the nether-lands of Northern S’conny.) This was the same fine publication that asked who the worst president of the last 50 years was a couple weeks back – the foul Kenyan won by about the same margin but several hundred more voted. I conclude we’re not as sexist as we are racist round these parts, so it’s progress of some sort… I guess.

    I am legitimately encouraged anyway – Maybe Scooter’s sugar daddies can’t carpet bomb ads well enough to pound the rubes into submission this time around.

  20. 20
    VidaLoca says:

    @GxB: Where do you live, GxB?

  21. 21
    raven says:

    @VidaLoca: S’conny is Wisconsin pilgrim.

  22. 22
    GxB says:

    @VidaLoca: Rhinelander area. How about you?

  23. 23
    VidaLoca says:

    @raven: Right, but he speaks of “the local wingnut-run fishwrap”. So the definition of “the local” is relevant in understanding where Burke may be seeing some support. Most of “Northern S’conny” is Walker country.

  24. 24
    VidaLoca says:

    @GxB: Milwaukee. Pleased to hear that there is opposition to Walker up in your neck of the woods. Hope it’s not just the tourists!

  25. 25
    raven says:

    @VidaLoca: My old man was the football coach at Wauwatosa in the early 50’s.

  26. 26
    Elmo says:

    Had my purse and carryon stolen out of the overhead bin on a trip to Chicago. Flew home with no wallet, no ID. Worst trouble I had was paying for airport parking when I got home – the parking attendant was entirely unsympathetic to my lack of wallet, and I had to call my partner at 1 am to read me a credit card number so I could pay.

  27. 27
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @efgoldman: For the people we’re talking about, that’s an argument to redefine voting….

  28. 28
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @VidaLoca: It is a single term. No reelection. It might well be an improvement on the current system, but, if we are going to change things, why not do it right?

  29. 29
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @GxB: Could you check on how the new roof on my family’s cabin is doing? It’s only a few miles west off Hwy 8.

  30. 30
    Shakezula says:

    Yes of course. And you have to pay hundreds of dollars and submit to a search in order to board a plane so why shouldn’t people have to do that to vote?

    Honestly, refuting the argument with examples of flying without ID gives the argument a million times more credence than it deserves. You could just as easily say ability to board the plane without ID is the same as the ability to file a provisional ballot if you don’t have ID.

  31. 31
    GxB says:

    @VidaLoca: Hopefully not Waukasha county – now that there is Walker country. It was real ugly around here during the recall, so to see his base show some sign of weakness is a good thing. Maybe the fact that Wal-Mart has become a “good job” and pawn/consignment shops rival the number of bars in the area has knocked sense into some of his slavish followers.

  32. 32
    mak says:

    @VidaLoca: The bright side of a proposal to have 16 year judicial terms is that, assuming the proposal is a Republican idea, it means that they realize their moment in the sun is coming to a close, and they wish to get their guys embedded now for the long term.

  33. 33
    GxB says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Did you have some of Walker’s cronies do the contracting work? I’d be a bit nervous too… Ah, who am I kidding Walker’s boy’s don’t “work” unless it’s like helping stuff fall off the back of a truck… What Lake?

    Oh, and another question I been meaning to ask – Are you in professional contact with Ann Althouse?

  34. 34
    James E. Powell says:


    Now if Walker would just lose the election we’d really be rolling. I don’t care who Mary Burke is or what she’s about. He’s one person who deserves to lose.

    With you all the way. Take down Walker and Kasich and I might start believing in democracy again.

  35. 35
    VidaLoca says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): But it seems to me that the only people who could see this reform as an improvement are the Koch brothers and their allies. In a “normal” election like the one we most recently had, Pat Roggensack beat Ed Fallone like a rented mule. Now she’s sitting pretty for another 10 years — but the Bar committee you mentioned wants to increase it to 16? It doesn’t matter that she only would only serve one term, the damage she will do is baked in the moment she puts on her robes so letting her serve longer makes things worse not better.

    They came close to losing Prosser but we won’t see an election like that one again for a long time to come. They simply can mobilize their people better to vote in these spring non-partisan elections.

  36. 36
    Karen in GA says:

    Open thread, so Iggy welcomes me home.

    @gogol’s wife: Looks like my DVR will be busy.

  37. 37
    VidaLoca says:

    @mak: Well, maybe. Your mouth to God’s ears and all of that. Problem is, they have shown a great deal of skill at re-embedding their guys when they need to do so, so lengthening their terms does not seem to me to be that great an idea. You’re interpreting it as a defensive move on their part; I’m saying it looks great as an offensive move too.

    This reform begins from a fundamentally false premise: given that the Supreme Court has become completely politicized, we can fix all of that by making structural changes to the judges’ terms, or jiggering with the system in other ways, all to restore “judicial impartiality”. But the impartiality ship has already sailed… and then sunk before it got out of the harbor. Ain’t gonna be no impartiality any more.

    I’d be in favor of making their terms shorter, not longer. That way we’d get a crack at them more often.

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @GxB: We did it ourselves. And I am not in contact with Ann Althouse in any way. Although she did live fairly close to me at may place.

    @VidaLoca: Not to mention that it prevents someone like Abrahamson (who I really like) from serving for as long as she can keep being reelected.

  39. 39
    Kay says:


    Are you in professional contact with Ann Althouse?

    I just thought about her the other day. Remember when she was afraid of the Wisconsin school teachers at the statehouse? She was afeared of those bomb-throwing, knitting, pot-lucking radicals.

  40. 40
    Baud says:

    OT: Biden fans can find a dashing photo of a young Biden on Reddit right now.

  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Kay: There were scary Teamsters and IBEWers. The IBEW ran a great brat stand fund raiser thing. And Wobblies – there were actual Wobblies there.

  42. 42
    GxB says:

    @James E. Powell: Well, Snyder in Michigan is no peach either – really WTF happened to the Great Lake States this past cycle (*cough*Kochs*cough*)? Only Minnesota got it right, and they still have Bachmann till January.

    @VidaLoca: One thing I can’t deny the Reicht-wing – they get shit done and play hardball all the time. Doesn’t make them right, but power is their whole reason for being and that is one hell of a motivator. Me, I like noodling on a guitar and sipping Dogfish Head Ale more myself.

  43. 43
    Kay says:


    Photographed today, the damage was done on Wednesday night when the building was stormed and retaken (according to one of the Capitol police).

  44. 44
    Commish says:

    It just occurred to me and maybe I haven’t thought it through, but…. I might agree to ID and registration requirements for voting to the extent that the same requirements are placed on possession of firearms. Including the need to re-register whenever you relocate, and etc.

  45. 45
    BGinCHI says:

    @efgoldman: Peer pressure.

  46. 46
    gene108 says:

    Watching Sharktopus and now watching Sharktopus versu Pteracuda, the problem is not that science cannot control the monsters it creates, but people – like Admirals, disgruntled employees and greedy businessmen – push the limits beyond what the scientists recommend is safe and only then does disaster happen.

    The moral of these stories is when crazy-ass things are done by scientists, the scientists need to be completely in charge and deferred to about safety issues.

    I think this is a good lesson, with real world implications, like with global warming. We should let the scientists be in charge of a solution and let the business people and such step aside.

  47. 47
    Baud says:


    That was awesome.

  48. 48
    Shakezula says:

    @Kay: She hadn’t had a drink in the past 30 minutes so she thought they were giant talking cucumbers and fanged bananas.

  49. 49
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Kay: Complete and utter bullshit. I was actually one of the first people through the doors that night (I went in the doors on the MLK Jr Blvd side), and when we got in there was a jubilant, party-like atmosphere. It wasn’t an angry mob storming the gates. It was Wisconsin’s people happily taking back their building.

    And omigod, the idiots who comment on her site ::facepalm::

  50. 50
    Kay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    We have an IBEW thug-leader here. Chuck. He once built a really elaborate wooden tobaggon run on his farm, for his kids and any other random kids. He’s terrifying.

    By any means necessary, Ann.

  51. 51
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:


    If all your friends jumped off the I-35 bridge, would you do it too?

    It is not really high enough for bungee jumping.

  52. 52
    VidaLoca says:


    they get shit done and play hardball all the time.

    Yeah. And because they get shit done and because they play hardball all the time they win people over to their program. They build confidence and solidarity among their supporters while they neutralize and demoralize their opposition. Who have only the soggy counter-example of the Democrats to consider. It’s the blitzkreig model of politics.

    Walker has so far shown a consistent 47% support in the polls not in spite of what he’s done but because of what he’s done and (I’ve been willing to believe so far) these people would crawl over broken glass to vote for him. So when you say that there’s a blip of people up in Rhinelander who aren’t buying it, that’s a big deal.

  53. 53
    Thoughtful David says:

    @Edmund Dantes:
    Yes, Count, it is different for international flights, because you have to have a passport (so the country you’re going to will let you in), and all passports I know of for some years have included a photo.

  54. 54
    KG says:

    I’m watching the most surreal movie on BBC America, it’s called The Great Martian War. Basically, instead of WWI, the earth is invaded by aliens. So incredibly strange

  55. 55
    Thoughtful David says:

    It’s pajamas for me. For now.

  56. 56
    GxB says:


    (With apologies to Ann and Nancy Wilson – I’m butchering a lovely song)

    Heading out this morning into the bar
    Riding in the Lexus, round the cap-it-al
    White wine caress her
    Her lover it seems
    Oh, Annie
    Winebox Annie my little Prof’ of dreams

    Going down the State Street sidewalk alone in the crowd
    No one cares for the loaded one whose head’s in the clouds
    Bullcrap painted over other blogger’s styles
    Heading out to Woodman’s… won’t be baaack… for a while

    (Woodman’s is a local grocery chain with a huge liquor dept. – but if ya gotta explain etc.)

  57. 57
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Dear gods, what a (:: fans self ::) fetching young man.

  58. 58
    raven says:

    @GxB: Saw the Dead in Dane County Coliseum on 1973-02-15.

  59. 59
    James E. Powell says:


    really WTF happened to the Great Lake States this past cycle

    The Great Lakes region is lousy with ignorant bigots Reagan Democrats who lost their liberty lovin’ minds when they woke up to find that the president was near.

  60. 60
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @James E. Powell:A lot of the the Great Lakes states went for Obama in both elections.

  61. 61
    mak says:

    Timely. I hate fucking flying, but went airborne last week for the first time in a long time, PHL-MDW roundtrip, out of family necessity. And on both legs of the trip, was in line immediately behind people without IDs who managed to pass through without incident. Prior to that, I too had assumed photo ID was an actual requirement.

    First leg was a young lady – in a hijab no less – whose people had passed TSA a minute or so prior. I could see them waiting for her beyond the gauntlet as she answered a few questions from the TSA agent. She told the TSA lady straight up that she was a minor without ID. Now, I’m an old (52) so couldn’t tell if she was 15 or 25, especially with the head scarf and glasses, but the TSA lady simply asked her a few questions to confirm details of the relatives who had passed the same TSA agent two or three people before her, and the young lady was good to go. TSA lady didn’t so much as turn around and ask the elders about the girl without ID.

    After all the bitching about TSA we’ve heard, much of it presumably justifiable, I was happy to see a little common sense and brainpower at work in the pre-take-off-your-shoes-and-belt-line.

    On the return leg, it was kind of the reverse situation, with an unaccompanied caucasian senior citizen female at the gate without ID. In that case, she had obviously gotten through TSA without photo ID and told the gate lady that she didn’t have any ID at all, photo or otherwise. After a few questions completely unrelated to her ID, she was waived through onto the airplane.

    I do wonder, though, if that would have worked for a middle aged male such as myself, though, especially if I’d decided to wear a keffiya that day.

  62. 62
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @efgoldman: If my friends were jumping off a bridge, bungees would probably be involved.

  63. 63
    VidaLoca says:

    @James E. Powell: You’re way over-simplifying. Minnesota is tepidly liberal. Illinois is Chicago machine-politics business-as-usual Democratic liberal. I may have to grant your point on Indiana. Kay can talk about Ohio; they’ve at least been able to give Kasich some tough sledding. Michigan is defined a lot by Detroit and Detroit is an extreme case of where Milwaukee is headed; if you’re really interested in that topic you can start reading about it here. Also I’ll add 40 years of deindustrialization and economic decline, decline in the power of private-sector unions as a political force, tepid-to-nonexistent record of the Democrats in responding to all of these and the ability of the Republicans to weaponize white privilege as key factors.

  64. 64
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Kay: more to the point, it’s “this thing that is a normal activity for fairly-well-off people requires ID.” If flying on an airplane is not an ordinary thing for you, you don’t count.

  65. 65
    Matt McIrvin says:

    …Similarly, there’s the whole business about how “you need ID to use your credit card/open a bank account/etc.” They don’t even realize that there’s this whole stratum of people who are miserable because they can’t do these things that are considered essentials in the modern economy. Or else they figure that if you’re stuck in that hole, you shouldn’t be able to vote.

  66. 66
    Grung_e_Gene says:

    Ask any LEO you know, Americans do not need picture identification. Only totalitarian nations demand their citizens procure a set of papers.

  67. 67
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    Obama needs to short-circuit these RWNJ vote-supression a-holes.

    How? Actually, it’s pretty simple. Just issue an executive order that Federal aid programs (ACA/Medicaid, ‘Food Stamps’, etc) automatically issue a ‘Federal Universal ID’ (aka ‘FU-ID’) along with the benefit.

    Then, when the GOP a-holes at polling stations say “where’s your photo ID?”, people can just pull out the card and reply “Here it is! FU!”

  68. 68
    bumper says:

    My son did the same thing at LAX. He went to LA got drunk and lost his wallet. So he had to fly home with nothing, no form of ID. The TSA asked him a lot of weird questions to verify his identity like the name of the river that runs through his town. Then they let him on the plane.

  69. 69
    Lawrence says:

    Class bias. Judges don’t know anyone who doesn’t have photo ID, and cannot imagine why it might be difficult to obtain.

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