Federal Appeals Court overturns ban on Voter ID in NC


Using a bad argument to accuse somebody else of using a bad argument:

The 4th Circuit ruling puts aside arguments by civil rights groups that sued over the law. They contended, in part, that the current voter ID rules can’t be carried out because previous courts declared Republicans approved a 2013 voter ID law with intentional racial discrimination in mind.

“The outcome hinges on the answer to a simple question: How much does the past matter?” Circuit Judge Julius Richardson wrote in the opinion, citing a U.S. Supreme Court decision. “A legislature’s past acts do not condemn the acts of a later legislature, which we must presume acts in good faith.”

The thing is, that "later legislature" is composed of many of the same bad actors that wrote the 2013 law that was struck down. Phil Berger, David Lewis (who resigned this previous Summer after lying to a bank official), Warren Daniel, and several other lesser ticks that have burrowed into the legislative body. Their goal (vote suppression) has not changed one iota from seven years ago, and they have literally never acted in good faith. Back to the judges:

Biggs decided in her injunction that the 2018 voter ID law was approved with the same racial bias that a previous 4th Circuit panel declared in 2016 had infected a 2013 voter ID mandate the GOP-controlled General Assembly also had approved.

Biggs wrote last Dec. 31 that many of the same GOP leaders and legislators who passed the 2018 law were in the legislature five years earlier, when they had received data that broke down voter behavior by race. She suggested that racial data was still in the minds of many legislators in 2018. Biggs, who is Black and an Obama appointee, pointed to the state’s “sordid history of racial discrimination and voter suppression” continuing to present times.

But Richardson wrote much had changed since 2013. A majority of voters had approved a constitutional amendment requiring photo ID in November 2018. Legislators weeks later approved supplemental laws to carry it out.

“The people of North Carolina had interjected their voice into the process,” Richardson wrote. Judges Pamela Harris and Marvin Quattlebaum joined in the opinion.

Apparently these judges need to be reminded: The NC Constitution contains several moribund elements, including a gay marriage ban approved by voters back in 2012:

With a stroke of his pen in a Charlotte-based lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn of Asheville struck down the state’s laws restricting marriage to a man and a woman.

In doing so, he erased Amendment One, the country’s last voter-approved, constitutional marriage ban, and a cultural, spiritual and political lightning rod in North Carolina.

The attorney for Republican legislative leaders trying a last-ditch effort to preserve the ban said Friday night that an appeal is possible. But for now it appears limited to narrow grounds, and legal experts said it had little chance of success.

An even higher percentage of voters approved that Amendment (which is disgusting, by the way) than those who approved the Voter ID Amendment, so that "popularity" argument is pointless. But the fact those judges thought that was important leaves me with a gaping open mouth. When the majority can vote to restrict the rights of a minority, in any friggin' scenario, democracy is at risk.




“A legislature’s past acts in passing a poll tax do not condemn the acts of a later legislature, which we must presume acts in good faith when it passes a poll tax.”