A state superior court judicial panel ruled on Friday that the North Carolina voter ID law was “enacted, at least in part, for discriminatory purposes” and struck it down.
The judges wrote that the attorneys defending the law failed to prove that it “would have been enacted in its present form if it did not tend to discriminate against African American voters.”
“Other, less restrictive voter ID laws would have sufficed to achieve the legitimate nonracial purposes of implementing the constitutional amendment requiring voter ID, deterring fraud, or enhancing voter confidence,” the judges wrote.
The fight now moves to federal court where the NAACP has filed a federal suit to have the law overturned.
They noted that they did not find that any individual lawmaker supporting the voter-ID law “harbors any racial animus or hatred towards African American voters,” but rather that the legislature’s Republican majority targeted those voters because they were more likely to be Democrats.
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Nathaniel Poovey wrote that the evidence presented during the three-week trial did not support a finding that the state legislature “acted with racially discriminatory intent.” He noted that the measure was a bipartisan one “that was supported along the way by multiple African American legislators.”
So there was no racist intent by any individual lawmaker who voted for the bill and the bill received bipartisan support and support from some black legislators.
What mind-reading skills do the judges who wrote the opinion — Judges Michael O’Foghludha and Vince Rozier Jr. — possess that allowed them to see what’s hidden from others?
Allison Riggs, co-executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a group representing the plaintiffs in Friday’s suit, and pro bono counsel Andrew J. Ehrlich said the ruling sends “a strong message that racial discrimination will not be tolerated.”
“Today’s ruling striking down North Carolina’s latest unconstitutional photo voter ID law is a testament to the overwhelming evidence, including compelling stories of disenfranchisement from voters themselves, which highlighted how the state’s Republican-controlled legislature undeniably implemented this legislation to maintain its power by targeting voters of color,” they said in a statement.
That’s not what the ruling was about — not even close. But don’t stop her now. She’s on a roll.
Both judges were elected as Democrats, which probably had something to do with them parroting Democratic talking points about voter ID. It probably won’t matter. Voter ID is embedded in the North Carolina state constitution and it will take a lot more than a couple of partisan Democratic judges to get rid of it.