WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed two Republican state lawmakers to intervene in a challenge to a controversial 2018 electoral law that require voters in North Carolina to show photo ID in the polls.
North Carolina’s electoral law, at the heart of the matter, increased the number of partisan observers, required voter IDs, and expanded the grounds to challenge a voter’s vote. But the new requirements were not on the agenda for the Supreme Court, only whether Republican State Legislative Leaders Could Participate in the suit to defend them.
Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion for the 8-1 majority. Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a solo dissent.
“Through the General Assembly, the people of North Carolina have authorized the leaders of their legislatures to defend duly enacted state statutes against constitutional challenge,” Gorsuch wrote. “Normally, a federal court should respect that kind of sovereign choice and not gather presumptions against it.”
State Senate leader Philip Berger and Timothy Moore, the speaker of the North Carolina House, both Republicans, tried to intervene as the law is being defended in federal court by a Democratic attorney general. The decision can help with similar conflicts in states where the legislative and executive branches are controlled by different parties.
In her dissenting opinion, Sotomayor claimed that the law was already adequately defended by the Attorney General.
In summary, the court’s conclusion that the state respondents did not adequately represent the petitioners’ interests is a fiction not supported by the report, Sotomayor wrote, accusing the majority of “armchair hypotheses” about the attorney’s efforts. general.
In March, an 8-1 majority of the Supreme Court allowed Republican Attorney General of Kentucky to intervene to defend a state ban on a communal abortion procedure. But in that case, the Democratic governor of Kentucky refused to defend the law. In the North Carolina dispute, Democratic officials have continued to defend the new election requirements.
Democratic Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the bill, but the Republican-led legislature ignored his veto.
The NAACP’s North Carolina Conference has sued the state to halt enforcement of the law. The NAACP argued that the law discriminated against black and Latino voters in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution.
A divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that the attorney general adequately defends the law.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Supreme Court: North Carolina GOP Can Intercede to Defend Voter ID Act