Election reform has become a hot-button political issue in the months since November’s presidential election as Republicans seek to implement new safeguards against fraud and Democrats attempt to expand ballot access.
According to recent reports, one aspect of that debate will soon be decided by the nation’s highest court.
Background on the case
As Fox News reported, the U.S. Supreme Court announced on Wednesday that it would take up a case involving a North Carolina law requiring voters to present a valid form of identification before casting a ballot.
Specifically, the court will seek to determine whether GOP lawmakers can intervene to defend the law in court, which is something they have accused the state’s Democratic attorney general of failing to adequately do.
A solitary order issued this week by the Supreme Court only confirmed that “certiorari is granted” in the case of Berger v. North Carolina State Chapter of the NAACP.
As for the scope of that case, it is designed to consider three related issues: whether state agents can intervene to defend the law, how the courts should decide if an initial defense is adequate, and whether two specific state lawmakers have the right to intervene.
At the root of the complaint are accusations from state GOP lawmakers that North Carolina Attorney General John Stein failed to adequately defend the law from challenges by groups including the state’s NAACP chapter.
Justices prepare to hear oral arguments
According to SCOTUSblog, the high court will soon consider whether those Republicans can intervene to more forcefully defend the challenged law in court.
State Senate Pro Tempore Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim More launched an effort to essentially replace Stein in the case, but that petition was rejected by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the attorney general was doing an adequate job of defending the law from challenges.
Berger and Moore clearly disagreed and turned to the Supreme Court to settle the matter.
Oral arguments are likely to be scheduled for some point near the end of the court’s current term in late winter or early spring.
If that timeline is accurate, a ruling could be issued by July, which would leave time prior to next year’s midterm elections for any ramifications from the ruling to be implemented.