The United States Supreme Court judges have been on fire recently. In a decision, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that leaders of North Carolina’s Republican legislature should be allowed to step in to advocate for a voter I.D. law in court.
They could do this if they believe the state’s Democratic attorney general isn’t fighting hard enough to defend the law. Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only member of the Supreme Court justices who dissented in the case.
As per a social media post from the SCOTUS Blog, the NAACP had been challenging the law, but the N.C. Attorney General, a Democrat, has been defending it. GOP legislators, however, wish to intervene anyway. SCOTUS’ decision now means that Republican legislators could intervene as needed.
Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion on the matter.
“At the heart of this lawsuit lies a challenge to the constitutionality of a North Carolina election law. But the merits of that dispute are not before us, only an antecedent question of civil procedure: Are two leaders of North Carolina’s state legislature entitled to participate in the case under the terms of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure.
“Within wide constitutional bounds, States are free to structure themselves as they wish. Often, they choose to conduct their affairs through a variety of branches, agencies, and elected and appointed officials.
“These constituent pieces sometimes work together to achieve shared goals; other times they reach very different judgments about important policy questions and act accordingly.
“This diffusion of governmental powers within and across institutions may be an everyday feature of American life. But it can also pose its difficulties when a State’s laws or policies are challenged in federal court,” Gorsuch noted.
The law in question, S.B. 824, requires voters to present a photo I.D. such as a driver’s license or a military I.D. before they are allowed to vote, according to a report from Conservative Brief.
However, two Wake County Superior Court judges noted that the law violates the state’s constitution “because it was adopted with a discriminatory purpose,” especially against African American voters.
Citing a study in 2015, the two judges stated that at least 5.9% of registered voters lacked proper identification and that 9.6% of black voters did not have acceptable I.D.s. Only 4.5% of registered white voters are in the same boat.
The judges also noted that “since a greater percentage of Black voters live in poverty, Black voters face greater hurdles to acquiring photo I.D.”
Below is SCOTUS’ decision on the matter.