In a great victory for the Reform Majority, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals voted unanimously Wednesday to reverse a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Biggs, who in December 2019 enjoined a Voter ID law passed by the NC General Assembly in 2018. The result: Voter IDs will now be required in NC elections.
Appointed by President Obama to serve on the federal court in 2014, Judge Biggs’ action was one of the great frustrations in recent years that exhibited how a liberal activist judge could stifle a constitutionally sound action by the legislature with one stroke of the pen. What made this decision even worse was that the people of North Carolina voted in a 2018 statewide referendum to support a constitutional amendment on Voter ID.
The Fourth Circuit ruling cited several ways that Biggs’ earlier ruling had “fundamental legal errors.” Maybe their most critical assertion of her ruling was that the District Court “penalized the General Assembly because of who they are, instead of what they did.”
Biggs’ 2019 ruling arose from appeals filed after the Voter ID legislation was passed in 2018. The appeals asserted that elements of the Voting Rights Act and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were violated because they had been enacted with racially discriminatory intent.
Her ruling said the state could not implement the Voter ID requirement and stopped any public communication concerning photo IDs from being used in the 2020 elections.
In reversing Biggs’ ruling, the Fourth Circuit decision also stated that “Indeed, the 2018 Voter-ID Law is more protective of the right to vote than other states’ voter-ID laws that courts have approved.”
The U.S. Fourth Circuit court has been seen as getting more liberal in recent years. Which makes this decision even more remarkable. Their decision shows how out of bounds liberal judicial activism has gotten in our state as left-leaning judges try to make the law fit an agenda, rather than simply interpret the law in a fair and impartial manner the way they are supposed to.
The people of North Carolina and their representatives wanted to have more confidence in their elections and took the proper steps to accomplish that. Then a liberal judge took that power away. Now that power has been restored. Yes, maybe there’s hope.