Two Republican Supreme Court Justices in North Carolina have been asked to recuse themselves from a case involving voter ID.
According to the Associated Press, a legal challenge to North Carolina’s voter ID law has been put on hold after the state’s NAACP requested that two GOP justices on the state Supreme Court disqualify themselves.
The NAACP requested that Phil Berger Jr. and former state Senator Tamara Barringer be excluded from the case, claiming that their political involvement could influence their judgment.
The dispute began in 2018, when the NAACP challenged two amendments to the state constitution of North Carolina. One clause requires voters to show a photo ID at the polls, while another lowers the income tax rate cap.
The Republican-controlled General Assembly added the changes to the ballots, but voters later accepted them.
In 2019, a trial court threw out the changes, claiming that the GOP-controlled legislature lacked the jurisdiction to do so because lawmakers were discovered to have been elected from racially biased districts two years before. In 2020, an appeals court overturned the ruling, which was then appealed to the Supreme Court.
The case was set to go to the state’s supreme court in August, but it was postponed when the NAACP requested that Berger and Barringer remove themselves.
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
Berger’s father, Republican state Senate leader Phil Berger, is a listed defendant in the NAACP’s lawsuit challenging the picture ID statute.
Barringer voted in favor of having a referendum on the voter ID amendment when she was a legislator. After winning statewide elections, both justices joined the court in January.
“I have no faith that either Berger or Barringer would/could fairly decide the problems in the case,” said James Coleman, a Duke University law professor who is not engaged in the case. “Regardless matter how compelling the opposing side is, I expect them to vote their party’s position on the issues.” Republicans, on the other hand, argue that recusing the two justices would inevitably tip the court in favor of overturning the voter ID legislation because there is no one to replace them. On the court, registered Democrats presently enjoy a 4-3 lead, with Barringer and Berger making up two of the three Republicans.
“An attempt was made to disqualify them from hearing cases. This is a condensed version of the information.