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Supreme Court to consider GOP lawmakers' right to defend North Carolina voter ID law

The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a fight over whether Republican state legislators are entitled to defend North Carolina’s voter identification law in court after claiming that the state’s Democratic attorney general isn’t doing enough to preserve the statute.

The justices on Wednesday granted a request from the GOP state senate and house leaders to take up a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that denied their request to intervene in a suit the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP brought against the voter ID law.

The move means arguments in the case will likely be scheduled at the Supreme Court early next year, with a decision expected by June or July.

The dispute is one of several that have reached the high court in recent years where litigants complained that state officials were not doing enough to defend a statute or had essentially conceded that it was unconstitutional.

The legal questions the justices agreed to consider do not include the validity of the underlying voter ID law, passed by the North Carolina legislature in 2018 following a referendum where voters amended the state’s constitution to require identification with voting.

In a separate lawsuit in September, a three-judge state trial court voted 2-1 to invalidate the law, with the majority concluding that its passage was “racially motivated.”

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