Yesterday (4/22/2014), in the case on affirmative action, Schuette v. Coalition, the Supreme Court ruled that voters could outlaw the use of race in college admissions.
According to the SCOTUS blog writeup about the decision (emphasis mine):
Those two Justices [Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas], however, would have gone considerably further, and declared that no policy that takes race into account can be upheld if it is not a direct remedy for intentional racial discrimination — in other words, they would allow race-conscious programs of dealing with policies that have a more negative effect on minorities, even if that is not intended.
In the voter ID case, Crawford v. Marion County Election Bd, the SCOTUS blog said this about the decision (emphasis mine), “The main opinion said states have a valid interest in preventing voting by those not entitled to do so, even if there is no specific proof of that kind of fraud in the state.”
These decisions are inconsistent. In the Schuette case, it seems that unless there is actual damage to individuals, you cannot justify action. In the Crawford case, the state can take action because they have a vested interest to protect against a possible harm. Either you must show actual harm (voter fraud), in which case the Crawford decision is wrong, or the state has a vested interest to protect against racial discrimination, in which case the Schuette decision is wrong.
If the state has vested interests to protect voting rights and protect against racial discrimination, then both decisions are wrong. Unfortunately, protecting voting rights was not the primary concern in the Crawford case.
I just wish that certain justices on the Supreme Court would be more interested in protecting voting rights and the rights of individuals and minorities instead of making it harder to enforce those rights.