Supreme Court to Consider Right of GOP Lawmakers to Defend North Carolina Voter Identification Act

The judges on Wednesday granted a request from the GOP State Senate and House of Representatives leaders to make a decision by the federal appeals court which dismissed their request to intervene in a lawsuit brought by the state chapter of the NAACP against the voter identification law.

The ruling means debates in the case will likely be scheduled in the Supreme Court early next year, with a ruling expected by June or July.

The dispute is one of many that have reached the High Court in recent years, where litigants have complained that state officials were not doing enough to defend a law or had essentially conceded that it was unconstitutional.

The legal issues the judges agreed to consider do not include the validity of the underlying voter identification law, passed by the North Carolina legislature in 2018 following a referendum in which voters amended the state constitution to require identification with voting.

A panel of three judges from the 4th Circuit initially on the side of the legislative leaders of the GOP, but the full panel of the Federal Court of Appeal agreed to reconsider the issue and finally voted, 9-6, uphold the decision rejecting the legislators’ request for intervention.

In a separate trial in September, a three-judge state trial court voted 2-1 to strike down the law, the majority concluding that its adoption was “racially motivated”.

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