SCOTUS set to consider challenge to NC voter ID law

The nation’s highest court recently announced that it would consider a challenge to a North Carolina law requiring voters to present a valid form of identification before casting a ballot.

According to reports, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed on Wednesday that it will decide whether a group of GOP lawmakers in the state should be permitted to defend the law against legal challenges.

GOP lawmakers request permission to defend law

Republican lawmakers passed the measure nearly three years ago with an override of the governor’s veto and it has faced several challenges in court since then — including from the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP.

In response, state GOP House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger have requested authorization to become involved in arguments supporting the law. They claim that the state’s Democratic attorney general has not defended it as vigorously as necessary.

Specifically, Republicans want to present the case that the law is constitutional, though Attorney General Josh Stein affirmed that his office has already made that argument.

“Attorneys in our office have worked diligently on behalf of the state throughout this case and will continue to do so,” said Stein spokesperson Nazneen Ahmed.

Nevertheless, the GOP wants to have the opportunity to argue for the law independent of Democratic arguments.

Lower court finds voter ID requirements discriminatory

The issue has not been addressed by the Supreme Court before and its ruling could indirectly impact whether the law is ultimately allowed to remain in place.

Reports indicate a decision on the case is expected by next summer.

Previously, a three-judge panel of North Carolina’s Superior Court ruled that the law intentionally discriminated against minority voters. That particular aspect of the dispute will not be addressed in the upcoming Supreme Court ruling.

If the Superior Court’s ruling is allowed to stand, it could render the high court’s case moot.

Polls show that a majority of Americans support voter ID requirements as a safeguard against fraud. As for those who oppose such laws on the basis of supposed discrimination, many voters consider it patronizing to assume that minorities are unwilling or unable to obtain a valid form of identification in order to participate in elections.

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