As if it weren’t bad enough that states are wasting millions to defend voter identification measures against frivolous federal lawsuits, the feds are being punished for filing the extraneous suits and have been ordered to pay one state’s legal costs.

The story comes out of South Carolina, one of more than two dozen states that have enacted laws requiring voters to show some type of official photo identification to vote. The idea is to prevent election fraud, but the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) claims that requiring a photo ID at the polls discriminates against minorities because many are too poor to obtain them. The Florida congresswoman who chairs the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, says voter ID laws are a “full-scale-assault” on minority voters designed to “rig” elections for Republicans.

The U.S. Supreme Court has disagreed with this assessment, upholding Indiana’s voter ID law in a 2008 ruling that says the state’s interest in protecting the integrity of the voting process outweighed the insufficiently proven burdens the law may impose on voters. “There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters,” the nation’s highest court said in its decision.

Last spring the notoriously liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an Arizona requirement that voters show photo identification before casting a ballot. A renowned Latino rights group claimed the measure, approved by voters in 2004 to stop illegal immigrants from voting, discriminates against Hispanics because it creates a barrier for minorities that’s tantamount to a poll tax. If true, that would violate equal protection rights within the Constitution.

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