Sometime this week (hopefully today) Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. will decide whether to uphold or strike down the Voter ID case in front of him. He basically has 3 options: to strike the law down as unconstitutional under the Pennsylvania constitution, find the law constitutional but find that implementing it before the November 2012 election is onerous enough to delay implementation until after this election, or uphold the law. No matter which option he chooses, the next step from the losing side will be to file an appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Normally, the Supreme Court has seven members, but since Joan Orie Melvin is under indictment, there are only six. As an aside, Joan's sister Jane is already in jail, and their unindicted co-conspirator (since high school) is currently governor of the state, but I digress. The Supremes are evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, although Chief Justice Ron Castille (R) has been known, at times, to rule against his party. If Simpson rules to strike down the law, the vote can split 3-3, and Simpson's ruling will stand, because the rule of law is that ties go to the lower court judgement. If, however, he rules to uphold the law, it would all come down to Ron Castille as to whether Simpson's ruling stands or is overturned. While Castille has given no indication of how he will rule, it is likely that he will not want history to remember him as the man who denied suffrage to a million plus Pennsylvanians.
As to how Simpson will rule on the initial filing? He has a history of being fair, so my gut (for whatever that's worth) says he'll rule to overturn the law in sum toto as the state's case was weak, at best, and the plaintiffs not only made a great case, but also decimated the state's witnesses, up to and including getting Carol Aichele to admit she didn't even know what the law said, as she'd never read it. (Aichele, by the way, is the Secretary of the Commonwealth.) Simpson was a Democrat, and appointed to the bench by Bob Casey, Sr., who appointed him to fill out a term. Simpson then ran for a full term. Since all Pennsylvania judge candidates can cross-file in the primary, Simpson did. He ended up winning the Republican primary, but not the Democratic primary, so he switched parties.
Fingers crossed, kids.