North Carolina Supreme Court rules state constitutional provision violates state constitution

North Carolina Supreme Court rules state constitutional provision violates state constitution

Most voters — including 60% of black voters — support voter ID requirements for voting. 80% of Americans support voter ID, and even 62% of Democrats do, according to Forbes.

Yet the Democrat-controlled North Carolina Supreme Court has just struck down the voter ID requirement of the North Carolina constitution in a 4-to-3 vote, finding that it violated the state constitution.  That is absurd, because a state constitutional provision, by definition, cannot violate the state constitution, contrary to the progressive justices’ argument, as we explained in the past.

The state supreme court found the voter ID requirement violated the constitution by having a racially discriminatory purpose.  But North Carolina voters — including many black voters — added the requirement to the state constitution in an overwhelming vote, after it was approved by the Republican-controlled legislature.

Soon, newly elected Republican justices will replace three Democrats on the state supreme court, giving Republicans a 5-to-2 majority. When they take control of the court, they should rehear this case, if that is possible, and overturn it. If it will be too late to rehear the case by the time they take office, the Republican justices should still repudiate this decision at the first opportunity.

As Hot Air notes,

In 2018, the North Carolina legislature passed a law that would create a new amendment to the state constitution requiring voter ID at all polling places. The law (Senate Bill 824) passed with significant support, primarily from Republicans who held a supermajority in the legislature and successfully overrode a veto by the governor. But this week, in one of the most self-contradictory rulings I’ve seen in quite a while, the state supreme court struck down the law, claiming that it was unconstitutional. Reading through the ruling is an exercise in confusion and nonsensical assumptions by the justices of the court.

The Hill reports:

North Carolina’s Supreme Court on Friday struck down a state voter ID requirement, finding that it was enacted with a racially discriminatory purpose and violated the state’s constitution.

Senate Bill 824 — which was passed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature in 2018 over a veto from its Democratic governor — sought to implement a state constitutional amendment requiring photo ID to vote.

The court found that while the law appeared neutral on its face, it was enacted “to target African-American voters who were unlikely to vote for Republican candidates.”

As Hot Air observes,

The primary argument being made in this ruling is that the amendment was written “to target African-American voters who were unlikely to vote for Republican candidates.”…They’re saying that the law is racist.

But the ruling then immediately turns around and claims “we do not conclude that the General Assembly harbored racial animus.” So what are they saying about the Republicans in the legislature? That they were… unintentionally racist? And yet the very next sentence says that the law “targeted voters who, based on race, were unlikely to vote for the majority party.” So now we’re back to the authors being racists, apparently. And we’re entirely ignoring the rather racist assumption by the court that most or all Black voters are Democrats.

The ruling also includes the usual Democratic talking point citing “the disparate impacts the law was likely to have on Black voters.” This argument has always been little more than horse-hockey. Like virtually every other state, North Carolina has bent over backward to ensure that every legal resident of the state can obtain a free voter identification card regardless of race, gender, income level, or any other demographic you can name. The information describing how to do so would be universally available. You simply have to go down to the local DMV or board of elections and ask for one. You will be given one at no charge. If anyone in the state didn’t have a valid ID under the proposed system it would be because they either didn’t want one or couldn’t be bothered to take the time to go get it.

Almost no one is prevented from voting by voter ID requirements, so any conceivable “disparate impact” on blacks would be too minute to affect any election, or to affect the likelihood that a candidate preferred by black voters would win. North Carolina’s voter ID requirement has yet to go into effect. But minority voter turnout rose in nearby Georgia after voter ID went into effect there.

All laws have a very slightly greater impact on some group than another, but that doesn’t make them have “disparate impact” in the legal sense. Disparate impact requires statistical significance, not trivial differences in the rate at which blacks and whites vote. If 1% fewer blacks end up voting than whites, that is not “disparate impact.” For example,

The most common measure of adverse impact – and the measure used by the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures – is the Four-Fifths Rule. The Four-Fifths rule states that if the selection rate for a certain group is less than 80 percent of that of the group with the highest selection rate, there is adverse impact on that group.  For example, in [the Supreme Court case that introduced the disparate-impact concept[, we can see that the selection rate of African Americans was 6%, while the selection rate of whites was 58%. Dividing the lowest selection rate (6%) by the higher (58%), we get 6/58 = 10.3%: significantly lower than the legal minimum 80%.

Voter ID, by contrast, doesn’t result in blacks voting at less than 80% the rate of whites. In Georgia, which has voter ID, blacks voted at a similar rate to other races in the January 2021 Senate run-off election — they accounted for 31% of voters, roughly the same as their percentage of the voting-age population (That is true even though several percent of black men in Georgia are excluded from voting because they are in jail or on parole. Such felon disenfranchisement provisions, which are allowed by Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment, affect a higher percentage of blacks than whites and more men than women, due to the higher black crime rate and the higher male crime rate).

Voter ID obviously does not exclude 20% of black voters. It doesn’t even prevent 1% of the population of any race from voting, if (as in North Carolina), people can get voter ID for free if they want it.

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.


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