High court to consider if GOP leaders can join voter ID suit


FILE – The Supreme Court is seen at dusk in Washington, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. The Supreme Court has rejected an emergency appeal from health care workers in Maine to block a vaccine mandate that went into effect Friday, Oct. 29. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court said Wednesday it will consider whether North Carolina Republican legislative leaders can intervene in a federal court battle over a 2018 state voter ID mandate.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger want to formally step into a pending federal case to defend the law. They have argued Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein, whose office is representing the state in the lawsuit brought by the NAACP, won’t adequately fight for the law.

The high court said in a brief order that it will hear the case at a later date. The case before the court won’t decide the underlying dispute over voter ID, and will focus on whether the GOP leaders can enter the case.

A federal trial had been set for January over the NAACP lawsuit arguing that the law is tainted by racial bias. That proceeding will most likely be delayed.

Berger and Moore appealed to the high court after the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in June that the state was already adequately represented by Stein.

The case is part of a thicket of litigation over the state’s voter ID mandate, which was approved by voters in November 2018 as a constitutional amendment and then formally written into law by the legislature. In September, a state judicial panel ruled that the law was unconstitutional. The North Carolina Supreme Court is hearing a third case challenging how legislators put the constitutional amendment on the ballot.

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