In a surprise pre-Thanksgiving order, the Supreme Court on Wednesday added one new case to its merits docket for the 2021-22 term. In Berger v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, the justices will weigh in on an effort by Republican legislators in the state to intervene to defend the state’s voter-ID law.
The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, along with several local chapters of the group, filed a lawsuit alleging that the law violates the Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit rejected a request by Phil Berger, the president pro tempore of the state senate, and Tim Moore, the speaker of the state house of representatives, both of whom are Republicans, to join the case to defend the law. The court of appeals explained that the state’s attorney general, who is a Democrat, was already adequately defending the voter-ID law. The legislators came to the Supreme Court in August, asking the justices to decide whether they were required to show that the state’s interest was not adequately represented to intervene.
The justices considered the legislators’ petition at two conferences, on Nov. 12 and Nov. 19, and they did not act on the case when they issued orders from the Nov. 19 conference on Monday. But in a short order on Wednesday, the justices granted review. The case will likely be scheduled for argument sometime in late winter or early spring.
This post is also published on SCOTUSblog.