Supreme Court Allows Voter ID Law:
Surprising action on a Friday afternoon from the Supreme Court: The Court vacated the Ninth Circuit's order that had enjoined Arizona's Voter ID law: the 6 page per curiam opinion is here. The gist of the Supreme Court's decision is that the Ninth Circuit enjoined the voter ID law with an entirely unreasoned 4-sentence order, and this was a no-no:
Faced with an application to enjoin operation of voter identification procedures just weeks before an election, the Court of Appeals was required to weigh, in addition to the harms attendant upon issuance or nonissuance of aninjunction, considerations specific to election cases and its own institutional procedures. Court orders affectingelections, especially conflicting orders, can themselvesresult in voter confusion and consequent incentive toremain away from the polls. As an election draws closer, that risk will increase. So the Court of Appeals may havedeemed this consideration to be grounds for prompt action. Furthermore, it might have given some weight to thepossibility that the nonprevailing parties would want to seek en banc review. In the Ninth Circuit that procedure, involving voting by all active judges and an en banc hearing by a court of 15, can consume further valuable time. These considerations, however, cannot be controlling here.It was still necessary, as a procedural matter, for the Court of Appeals to give deference to the discretion of the District Court. We find no indication that it did so, and we conclude this was error.

Although at the time the Court of Appeals issued its order the District Court had not yet made factual findings to which the Court of Appeals owed deference, see Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 52(a), by failing to provide any factual findings or indeed any reasoning of its own the Court of Appeals left this Court in the position of evaluating the Court of Appeals' bare order in light of the District Court's ultimate findings. There has been no explanation given bythe Court of Appeals showing the ruling and findings ofthe District Court to be incorrect. In view of the impending election, the necessity for clear guidance to the State ofArizona, and our conclusion regarding the Court of Appeals' issuance of the order we vacate the order of the Court of Appeals.
Thanks to Howard for the link.

  UPDATE: Perhaps the most interesting aspect to this case is that it reveals a continuing interest among the Justices in the workings of elections, even post Bush v. Gore. Here the Supreme Court treated a request for a stay as a cert petition, granted the petition, and reversed — that's something rare enough to seem sort of like a lightning bolt from above. Of course, we're dealing here with the Ninth Circuit, so maybe the Court's interest is narrower, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Court gets involved in more election cases in the future.

  Commentary from Rick Hasen is here.

  ANOTHER UPDATE: The Ninth Circuit's 2-judge order below is here, and was signed by Judges Tashima and Willie Fletcher.