Supreme Court to Hear Case of GOP Lawmakers to Defend Controversial Voter ID Bill

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The United States High Council will hear arguments from Republican lawmakers in North Carolina who wish to participate in the legal defense of a controversial voter ID law in the state, raising questions about which state officials might represent the state to defend such laws, and potentially shape how partisan influence plays a role in state-level voting rights issues.

GOP lawmakers argue that the state’s Democratic Attorney General, who already defends the law on behalf of the state, is not adequately representing their interests and not doing enough to defend the law, which the state governor opposes.

If the court rules in favor of Republicans, it could give GOP lawmakers more power to defend restrictive electoral laws that undermine voting rights.

The Supreme Court of the Nation announced on November 24 that it will grant a hearing in the dispute, which “is not about the underlying voter identification law itself, but the ability of the state legislature to intervene in defending the law against challenges,” according to Rick Hasen, professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine.

In this case, the debate centers on whether the state’s Democratic officials — such as the attorney general or the governor — or the GOP-controlled state legislature are allowed to speak on behalf of the state, despite their conflicting views on the law. on the voter’s own identity card.

In 2018, voters in North Carolina supported a constitutional amendment to require proof of identity in the polls, and the law was passed by a Republican supermajority state legislature following a veto override by Governor Roy Cooper, who is a Democrat.

The law defines a valid voter ID as a state driver’s license or state-issued ID or U.S. passport, but thousands of voters in the state lacked ID to legally vote, according to a 2015 analysis quoted by judges from the court of appeal.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, who is also a Democrat, is charged with defending the law against a lawsuit filed by the NAACP.

State Republicans Philip Berger and Timothy Moore said there is a growing challenge “in divided states of government where the executive may not be enthusiastic about defending the work of the legislature,” the court records say.

GOP lawmakers’ attempt to intervene follows an appeals court ruling in September that broke the law, which two state Supreme Court justices have argued is “motivated at least in part by an unconstitutional intent to attack African American voters.”

“Other less restrictive voter identification laws would have been sufficient to achieve the legitimate non-racial goals of implementing the constitutional amendment requiring voter identification, deterring fraud or increasing voter confidence,” they wrote in September.

The judges said they did not necessarily believe the Republicans who supported the measure were intentionally racist, but agreed that the GOP was targeting “voters who, based on race, were unlikely to vote for the majority party.”

“Even if it is done for partisan purposes, it constitutes a”[s] racial discrimination,” judges wrote.

The NYU School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice estimates that as many as 11 percent of eligible voters do not have ID, as required by their respective states to cast a vote.

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