Author Topic: In North Carolina voter-ID case, another question of intervention driven by partisan tension  (Read 182 times)

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SCOTUSblog by Amy Howe 3/18/2022

For the third time this term, the Supreme Court will weigh in on whether someone can stage an intervention – the legal kind, that is. On Monday, in Berger v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, the justices will consider an effort by two Republican leaders of the North Carolina legislature to join a lawsuit to defend the constitutionality of the state’s voter-identification law when the state’s attorney general, a Democrat, is already defending the law on behalf of the state’s board of elections. 

The argument comes less than a month after the justices heard oral argument in a dispute over whether a group of Republican-led states can defend a contentious Trump-era immigration policy after the Biden administration opted not to do so. And it comes less than three weeks after the justices ruled, by a vote of 8-1, that Kentucky’s attorney general should have been allowed to intervene to defend a state law restricting abortion after another state official declined to do so.


The North Carolina legislature passed the voter-ID law at the center of the case in December 2018. It was the legislature’s second effort in five years to impose an ID requirement for voting. In 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit struck down an earlier version of the law. After taking office, the state’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, dismissed North Carolina’s petition seeking Supreme Court review of that decision.

The 2018 law requires voters to provide photo identification to cast a ballot, either in person or absentee, and instructs county election boards to provide ID cards at no cost to voters. The law also increases both the number of partisan poll watchers permitted and the grounds that an individual voter can raise to challenge another voter’s ballot.