4th Circuit Reverses Activist Judge’s Voter ID Ban

4th Circuit: “We reverse because of fundamental legal errors that permeate the opinion” from District Court Judge Loretta Biggs

“The 2018 Voter-ID Law is more protective of the right to vote than other states’ voter-ID laws that courts have approved.”

Raleigh, N.C. — A three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, including a judge appointed by former President Obama, unanimously reversed activist District Court Judge Loretta Biggs’ lawless decision to ignore North Carolina’s voters and strike down a constitutionally-required voter ID law passed in 2018.

The appeals court’s unanimous decision exposed the partisan nature of Judge Biggs’ “fundamental legal errors” that “penalized the General Assembly because of who they are, instead of what they did.”

Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said, “There’s legitimate concern today about undermining trust in democracy. When an activist judge overturns the will of millions of North Carolinians who added a voter ID requirement to their own constitution, and rests her lawless opinion on political talking points and ‘fundamental legal errors,’ that’s destabilizing. That is what erodes confidence in government. I’m heartened by the Fourth Circuit’s unanimous decision in support of the basic principle of self-governance under the rule of law.”

Below are excerpts from the Fourth Circuit’s tough and clear-headed decision:

  • “These [District Court decision] errors fatally infected its finding of discriminatory intent. And when that finding crumbles, the preliminary injunction falls with it.”
  • “The district court penalized the General Assembly because of who they were, instead of what they did.”
  • “The district court’s who argument also overlooked the state constitutional amendment. Fifty-five percent of North Carolinian voters constitutionally required the enactment of a voter-ID law and designated to the General Assembly the task of enacting the law.”
  • “…the sequence of events leading to enactment, legislative history, and disparate impact — cannot support finding discriminatory intent.
  • “Whatever one thinks of the weight of bipartisanship, the district court erred in discounting [Black Democrat and primary bill sponsor] Senator [Joel] Ford and ignoring the other supporting Democrats.”
  • “The district court makes hay out of the fact that a proposed amendment to include public-assistance IDs failed…[A]s far as this record reveals, this proposed amendment would not cover any existing public-assistance IDs. And the failure to adopt a meaningless amendment cannot support finding discriminatory intent.
  • “Indeed, the 2018 Voter-ID Law is more protective of the right to vote than other states’ voter-ID laws that courts have approved.”
  • “We reverse because of the fundamental legal errors that permeate the opinion — the flipping of the burden of proof and the failure to provide the presumption of legislative good faith — that irrevocably affected its outcome.”

The official Medium account for N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger’s press office.

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