Previous ruling barring use of voter ID stays in place
The full North Carolina Court of Appeals won’t hear arguments on the state’s new voter photo ID law.
A three-judge appellate panel already ruled unanimously in February to halt the law from taking effect, pending a trial on the merits of the underlying lawsuit, Holmes v. Moore. After that ruling, Republican legislative defendants asked for an en banc hearing, or a hearing before all 15 members of the Court.
There was not a reason given in the Tuesday decision for why judges denied the en banc hearing. Judges Lucy Inman, Phil Berger Jr. and Chris Brook recused themselves from consideration of the case, according to the order.
Lawmakers enacted Senate Bill 824 after North Carolinians passed a vaguely written constitutional amendment to enshrine the use of a voter photo ID. It was passed with 55.4 percent of the vote.
The plaintiffs in Holmes v. Moore filed their lawsuit in state court the day SB 824 became law, and then appealed a lower court’s decision not to issue a temporary ban on voter ID during while litigation was pending.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which represents the five plaintiffs in Holmes, applauded the Court of Appeals’ decision to deny the en banc hearing.
“We believe today’s decision by the full Court of Appeals, which prevents the state’s voter ID law from taking effect until the trial of the case has concluded, continues to send a strong message that the rights of all voters must be protected in North Carolina,” states a news release from the organization.
A federal court has also issued a temporary stay on the state’s voter ID law under a separate lawsuit. The judge in that case wrote a 60-page injunction that noted lawmakers had at least some “discriminatory intent” in passing SB 824.