North Carolina Supreme Court Expedites Lawsuit Challenging Voter ID Law

The North Carolina Supreme Court voted 4-3 to expedite oral arguments for a case centered on the state’s controversial law requiring in-person voters to present photo identification.

After the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, Holmes v. Moore, in March, the plaintiffs filed a request on July 11 to expedite the case before the November election.

On Sept. 9, the court issued their ruling, allowing oral arguments for the case to be expedited to a date no later than Oct. 18.

“In light of the great public interest in the subject matter of this case, the importance of the issues to the constitutional jurisprudence of this state, and the need to reach a final resolution on the merits at the earliest possible opportunity, plaintiffs’ Motion for Expedited Hearing and Consideration is allowed…,” wrote the four justices who joined the majority opinion.

Chief Justice Paul Martin Newby wrote the dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Tamara Barringer and Philip Berger.

“Once more, the majority expedites the hearing of a case where no jurisprudential reason supports doing so,” wrote Newby. “Given the impending November elections, expedited hearing in October on this voter ID matter will likely cause voter confusion.”

“Additionally, the trial court’s permanent injunction in favor of plaintiffs remains intact,” Newby continued. “Expedited consideration, therefore, will not provide plaintiffs any new relief that they do not already enjoy.”

“Accordingly, nothing suggests that expedited hearing is necessary ‘to prevent manifest injustice’ or to protect ‘the public interest,’” he concluded.

In Sept. 2021, a trial court ruled against the voter ID law, and the plaintiffs eventually brought the case to the Supreme court, where Democrats currently outnumber Republicans 4-3.

Critics of the court’s decision to expedite the case accuse the justices of judicial activism verging on active legislation. In 2018, 55% of North Carolinians voted in favor of the voter ID law.

Why then, the question follows, should the justices take the matter into their own hands?