The Supreme Court said Wednesday that it will hear a case brought by Republican legislators in North Carolina who are seeking to defend the state’s strict voter ID law because they think the Democratic state attorney general is not adequately representing their interests.
North Carolina Senate Bill 824 requires a photo ID to vote. It was immediately challenged by the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, which argues that the law disproportionately impacts African American and Latino voters.
The dispute raises questions about who can act as an agent of the state to defend a law in a divided government.
The Republican politicians, Philip Berger, the president pro tempore of the state Senate and Timothy Moore, the speaker of the state House of Representatives, seek the right to intervene to defend the law. They argued in court papers that the case raises issues that are of “particular importance in the context of divided government and litigation involving controversial matters.”
North Carolina Attorney General Joshua Stein had urged the justices to reject the petition noting that the state is “already actively defending the challenged law.”
A district court ruled against Berger and Moore, holding that they could not show that their interests weren’t being adequately represented. A federal appeals court initially ruled in favor of the legislators, but then a larger panel of judges on the same court reversed the ruling.
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