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N.C. Court Votes In Favor Of Taking On Voter ID Case In October

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The U.S. Supreme Court gave Republican legislative leaders in North Carolina a win back in June in a fight over the state’s latest photo identification voting law.

In an 8-1 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ended the three-year-plus dispute over the voter ID law and held that legislative leaders in North Carolina can intervene in the federal case to defend the law.

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Now, the North Carolina state Supreme Court has voted 4-3 along party lines to hear oral arguments in October in a lawsuit challenging the state’s photo voter ID law.

“In light of the great public interest in the subject matter of this case, the importance of the issues to the constitutional jurisprudence of this State, and the need to reach a final resolution on the merits at the earliest possible opportunity, … [t]his case shall be scheduled for oral argument as soon as practicable, on a date to be determined during arguments scheduled the week of 3 October 2022, or by special setting no later than 18 October 2022,” Justice Robin Hudson, a Democrat, wrote in the order.

Writing for the Court’s three Republicans, Chief Justice Paul Newby wrote: “Once more, the majority expedites the hearing of a case where no jurisprudential reason supports doing so. Given the impending November elections, expedited hearing in October on this voter ID matter will likely cause voter confusion, … especially when this Court recently entered a decision in another case involving voter ID, N.C. NAACP v. Moore.”

“Additionally, the trial court’s permanent injunction in favor of plaintiffs remains intact,” Newby added. “Expedited consideration, therefore, will not provide plaintiffs any new relief that they do not already enjoy. Accordingly, nothing suggests that expedited hearing is necessary ‘[t]o prevent manifest injustice’ or to protect ‘the public interest.’”

“The state Supreme Court ruled in August that a trial judge should take another look at N.C. NAACP v. Moore, the case challenging the 2018 voter-approved referendum that enshrined voter ID as an amendment to the state constitution. The high court suggested that the trial court could nullify the voter ID amendment and another amendment that lowers the state’s income tax cap,” The Carolina Journal reported.

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“Friday’s order addresses a separate case, Holmes v. Moore. That suit challenges the law state lawmakers adopted to implement the voter ID constitutional requirement. With a 2-1 vote, a trial court panel threw out North Carolina’s voter ID law in September 2021. Unless that ruling is overturned, North Carolina cannot move forward with a photo ID requirement. Voter ID defenders appealed the trial court’s ruling to the N.C. Court of Appeals, but ID critics then asked the state Supreme Court to intervene,” the outlet added.

The case has gained national attention, including from former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

During a Q&A, Holder — who served in the Obama administration — claimed the looming final decision in the case could change elections forever.

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“That potential result, I think, should keep every American up at night,” Holder said.

“The stakes are higher now than they were even three, four years ago, given the number of election deniers who are running for state legislative seats, secretaries of state, governors,” Holder added.

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The case, called Moore v. Harper, “is about who has the constitutional authority to draw federal election maps and has nothing to do with presidential electors,” said Lauren Horsch, a spokeswoman for N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger.

“State legislatures could, at least theoretically, decide which electors ultimately go to the Electoral College,” Holder said, adding: “On the basis of what they’ve said about the legitimacy of the 2020 election, you have to genuinely be concerned about what would these people do.”

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