RALEIGH – The ink wasn’t even dry on the General Assembly’s override of the governor’s veto of Voter ID legislation before the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed suit against it in court. Apparently there is no reverence among the social justice crowd for popular mandates that result in Constitutional Amendments, that, in turn, result in bipartisan legislation to implement that mandate.
Allison Riggs, senior voting rights attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, described the groups justification for the lawsuit:
“Just because the North Carolina Constitution now authorizes, with exceptions, the presentation of a picture ID when voting does not mean those other longstanding protections can be ignored or violated.”
Oh? So just because the requirement is now directly in the Constitution, and such laws have been ruled consistent with other constitutional protections by the Supreme Court of the United States, doesn’t mean the Left will let us get away with it.
So what is the social justice argument against the law this time? The same as always; it’s racist.
According to the lawsuit, the new law violates multiple provisions of the North Carolina Constitution by:
- purposefully discriminating against and disproportionately impacting African-American and American-Indian qualified voters, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause in Article 1, § 19;
- unduly burdening the fundamental right to vote, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause in Article 1, § 19;
- creating separate classes of voters, treated different with respect to their access to the fundamental right to vote, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause in Article 1, § 19;
- imposing a cost on voting, in violation of the Free Elections Clause in Article I, § 10;
- imposing a property requirement for voting, in violation of the Property Qualifications Clause in Article I, § 11; and,
- impeding voters’ ability to engage in political expression and speech by casting a ballot, in violation of their Right of Assembly and Petition and Freedom of Speech as afforded by Article I, §§ 12 and 14.
Some of these charges are outright laughable, such as the last one. They are merely throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, a.k.a. what an activist judge can latch onto.
Further, the primary complaint that this law PURPOSEFULLY discriminates against and impacts minorities is absurd on its face. This law was sponsored by, and supported by multiple minority Democratic lawmakers. Are they knowing suppressing the vote of minorities?
Moreover, not only have voter ID laws in other states had no meaningful role in depressing minority turn out, the complaint presupposes that minorities are less capable of attaining one of a plethora of photo identification cards because of their race. Who’s the racist, again?
The social justice plaintiff merely doubles down on the stupid, though, arguing things that are obviously false:
“It is the legislature’s duty to balance competing demands in the State Constitution. It has failed miserably in its exercise of balancing the new ID constitutional amendment, which explicitly allows for exceptions, with the numerous other state constitutional demands that have been interpreted to aggressively protect the right to vote, ” stated Allison Riggs. “Any legislative scheme that requires voters to present ID when voting must have fail-safe measures to ensure that not one single eligible voter is disenfranchised. Our State Constitution demands it. This legislation does not do that.[…]”
To say that the legislature’s approach to crafting this legislation was not balanced it to say that you simply weren’t paying attention. The amount of compromises in this law were substantial, as Republicans did everything they could to incorporate the Left’s complaints into the bill.
This ‘scheme’ also went to great lengths to include fail-safe measures, with the ability to get voter photo IDs at any and all county boards of elections FOR FREE, along with a host of exceptions to the law.
None of this may matter in the end, however. Because of the Republican General Assembly’s and, subsequently, the NCGOP’s profound fumbling of the 2018 judicial elections, we now have a died in the wool social justice warrior on the N.C. Supreme Court.
Actually, newly elected Justice Anita Earls FOUNDED the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, the very party spearheading this legal action, and served as its executive director for years. Undoubtedly this case will make its way to the N.C. Supreme Court, unless lower courts completely throw it out, and then the question is whether or not Justice Earls should be weighing in on the case at all.
This was the plan all along, if we’re being honest. Get radical liberal activists on the court so the Left can appeal to them for judicial cover when they’re unable to actually legislate. Earls is a hero to the social justice movement, and they’ll be calling on her to save the day on their mission to destroy all semblance of common sense governance and representative government.