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Furthermore: Judge backtracks on voter ID repudiation

Associated Press

Federal Judge Richard Posner is recanting his recant. The author of the Seventh Circuit Court opinion upholding Indiana’s controversial voter identification law says his comments about the case have been taken out of context.

In a new book, “Reflections on Judging,” Posner wrote, “I plead guilty to having written the majority opinion (affirmed by the Supreme Court) upholding Indiana’s requirement that prospective voters prove their identity with a photo ID – a type of law now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention.”

But in an article published last week on the New Republic website, Posner said he did not say his decision – and the Supreme Court’s – was wrong, only that he could “not be confident that it was right.”

“(I) am one of the judges who doesn’t understand the electoral process sufficiently well to be able to gauge the consequences of decisions dealing with that process,” he writes, going on to acknowledge, “I may well have been wrong in (Crawford vs. Marion County Election Board) because laws similar (I do not say identical) to Indiana’s represent a ‘type of law now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention’ (emphasis added) – ‘now’ referring to the fact there has been a flurry of such laws since 2007, when my opinion in the Crawford case was issued, and they have been sharply criticized.”

In a video interview last month with Mike Sacks of Huffington Post, however, Posner’s comments were clear.

“Do you think that the court got this one wrong?” Sacks asked.

“Yes. Absolutely. And the problem is that there hadn’t been that much activity with voter identification,” Posner said. “Maybe we should have been more imaginative. … We weren’t really given strong indications that requiring additional voter identification would actually disfranchise people entitled to vote.”

FAA makes the right calls

Oh, happy day.

Yes, there are times when it’s inappropriate to pull out your smartphone or mobile tablet and start tapping away.

In church. In school classrooms (except to take notes). When your spouse is trying to have a conversation with you.

But there may not be a better time to zone in on your iPad screen than in those long minutes between “ready for takeoff” and “the captain says we have reached 10,000 feet” on an airplane flight.

Now, in many cases, you will be able to actually do that.

The Federal Aviation Administration Thursday issued new rules that allow use of digital devices all through flights. After takeoff, you won’t be able to connect to the Internet unless your plane has Wi-Fi and you hook into it. But you’ll be able to read, listen to music, watch downloaded movies, play offline games – or actually catch up on some work.

This was a wise and overdue decision. Best of all, officials avoided the danger of creating a particularly obnoxious problem while lifting the ban on phone/tablet use: Making or receiving cellphone calls during a flight is still prohibited.

Two good moves, FAA.

Central time boosters take plea to D.C.

Think the debate over daylight-saving time is over? While the seasonal time-switch question might be settled, the time zone debate continues. Members of the Central Time Coalition are taking their fight to Washington, D.C., in an effort to move the state from Eastern Standard Time to Central time.

The group is appealing to the U.S. Department of Transportation, filing a “petition for the redress of grievances.”

“They leave us no alternative but to go to the federal level in hopes that the issues will get a fair hearing,” said coalition President Sue Dillon, a Carmel resident. “In the meantime, students are standing at dark bus stops all over Indiana, and it’s only a matter of time until one of them gets injured or killed. October is a very unsafe month for students in Indiana.”

The coalition’s petition addresses the federal agency’s questions regarding commerce as well, noting that the state’s decision to observe daylight-saving time puts Hoosier businesses in sync with the rest of the world, but a disconnect with the sunlight schedule creates unintended consequences for families and students.

Don’t look for the federal government to wade into a state debate. Indiana opted out of daylight-saving time for many years as sort of an uneasy compromise between those who wanted to be in the Central time zone, largely on the western side of the state, and those who wanted to be on Eastern time. Each got its way for about six months out of the year. The switch has left the former group unhappy, although their discontent will be alleviated somewhat on Sunday when clocks are turned back an hour.