Justice Ginsburg Does the Unusual: Issues a Correction

Incorrect sentence removed from her dissent on Texas voter ID law
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2014 11:32 AM CDT
Justice Ginsburg Does the Unusual: Issues a Correction
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in her Supreme Court chambers in Washington, Thursday, July 31, 2014.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

On Saturday morning, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas can use its controversial new voter ID law in the November election. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was among the three justices who didn't side with the majority, and she yesterday took what the Wall Street Journal terms an "extraordinary step": She publicly issued a correction to a factual error contained in her seven-page dissent. This sentence was removed: "Nor will Texas accept photo ID cards issued by the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs." (Texas does accept that type of ID, along with six more.)

The Journal reports that justices have historically made any fixes quietly, without alerting the public. As for why Justice Ginsburg acted otherwise, a Supreme Court rep simply says she "realized the error, amended the dissent, and did not want the correction to go without notice." It didn't escape the notice of a Harvard law professor who has pushed for such transparency. Richard Lazarus tells the Journal the move "demonstrates how candor about the need for corrections furthers, rather than undermines, the court's stature and authority." As for who could have caused the error, Fox News notes that the justices are permitted to hire four law clerks to help them with research, drafting opinions, and the like; the chief justice gets five. (Read more Ruth Bader Ginsburg stories.)

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