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SCOTUS Rules 8-1 in favor of Republicans defending voter ID laws

The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled 8-1 Thursday that Republican lawmakers can step into a court battle to defend North Carolina’s voter ID laws against Democratic officials.

In 2018, Republicans in the North Carolina State Legislature overruled a veto by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper that amended the state’s constitution to state that “voters offering to vote in person must present a ‘photo ID’.

In response, the North Carolina National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) sued the governor and state Board of Elections. In court, the board of elections was defended by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, who previously voted against voter ID laws while in the state Senate.

Republicans in the state legislature have sought to intervene in the case, arguing that the interests of the state were not being properly represented because the governor and attorney general both opposed the laws on the voter identification.

In an 8-1 decision, written by Judge Neil Gorsuch, SCOTUS held that “North Carolina’s legislative leaders have a right to intervene in this litigation.” Judge Sonia Sotomayor dissented in the case.

Gorsuch writes:

Legislative leaders seek to give voice to a different perspective. Their “main objective” is not to clarify which law applies. They are not burdened with apprehensions about the wisdom of the law. If allowed to intervene, legislative leaders say, they will focus on vigorously defending the law on the merits without regard to cross-cutting administrative concerns. And, they add, the differences between their interest and that of the Commission in this case demonstrate why state law gives them the power to participate in litigation about the validity of state law. — aware that it is of the possibility that different branches of government may seek to pursue different and valid state interests. Perhaps recognizing all of this, the Fourth Circuit itself allowed legislative leaders to intervene in the appeal of the district court’s preliminary injunction ruling. The same result should follow here. [Emphasis added]

Through the General Assembly, the people of North Carolina have authorized the leaders of their legislature to defend duly enacted state laws against constitutional challenges. Ordinarily, a federal court must respect this kind of sovereign choice, and not assemble presumptions against it. After satisfying the terms of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2), North Carolina legislative leaders have the right to intervene in this litigation. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is reversed. [Emphasis added]

“Today is a great victory for democratic accountability in the rule of law,” Ambassador Ken Blackwell, president of the America First Policy Institute’s Center for Election Integrity, told Breitbart News exclusively.

“Voter ID laws are hugely popular, including among black and Hispanic voters that leftist misrepresentation is discriminated against by these laws,” Blackwell said. “Today’s ruling allows popularly elected lawmakers to defend this grassroots law they passed while Democrats on the North Carolina executive branch are not doing so vigorously.”

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), who filed an amicus brief in the case, hailed SCOTUS’ decision as “a huge victory for voter ID laws”:

Today’s ruling is a huge victory for voter ID and the right of state legislatures to step in and defend their laws when a rogue attorney general fails to do his job and goes against the will of the people because of politics. In fact, implementing common sense safeguards, like voter identification, to ensure safe and secure elections should never be political.

The case is Berger v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP21-248 of the Supreme Court of the United States.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here.

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