State Files 'Emergency' Appeal to US Supreme Court in Bid to Salvage Racist North Carolina Voter Id Laws
Seventeen days after a federal appeals court struck down North Carolina's racist voter ID law, state officials filed an emergency brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to have portions of the law reinstated. The court ruled North Carolina lawmakers had passed it "with racially discriminatory intent."
Considering the clear message from the court that the law disproportionately and directly targeted voters based on race, the swing state faces a steep challenge if it is to prevail in a post-Scalia court. Determined to see at least some part of the law survive prior to Election Day, the state has turned to the one man who might possibly be able to take on the Supreme Court: Paul Clement (photo).
Former solicitor general during the Bush administration, and current professor at Georgetown Law School, Clement has spent much of the Obama administration working with conservatives on several prominent Supreme Court cases, including arguing in favor of overturning the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), fighting to preserve the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and helping Arizona defend its controversial immigration law. Clement won the Hobby Lobby case at the Supreme Court for religious conservatives.
In short, Clement is Gov. Pat McCrory's only hope.
Clement's assistance doesn't come cheap. According to some estimates, Clement can charge as much as $1,350 an hour for his esteemed services, though he offered a generous discount of $520 an hour to help then-Speaker John Boehner defend DOMA. In any case, taxpayers in North Carolina are likely to face substantial bill as North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory fights to restrict voting rights in his state. And that's on top of the $5 million North Carolina taxpayer have already shelled out to defend the racist voter ID law.
Clement has a difficult fight on his hands. Saying that the provisions "target African Americans with almost surgical precision," a three judge panel in 4th Circuit Court of Appeals called out what they considered a direct attempt to suppress African-American voter turnout.
"We cannot ignore the record evidence that, because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history," the panel wrote.
In related news, Texas is appealing a similar ruling from the 5th Circuit striking down its voter ID law — considered even more strict than North Carolina's.
Image: Screenshot via YouTube