RNC files over 70 lawsuits to challenge states on election rules
In recent days, two federal district judges have ruled that the National Republican Congressional Committee’s lawsuit and other similar challenges to state-level voting laws are a legitimate, First Amendment-protected activity. That’s a major shift in the courts’ approach to election law, and the ruling in the case of Shelby County v. Holder will likely have far-reaching consequences.
Shelby County filed two separate lawsuits in recent years: one in August, when the Supreme Court upheld Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and required the government to take an extra step to protect minority voters’ rights, and another in October, when the DC Circuit Court found that “nothing in the Constitution prevents the federal government from defending the fundamental right to vote for citizens of Texas.”
The RNC, which includes the president’s chief strategist, has taken an aggressive strategy against voting restrictions. This is the second time the group has challenged state-level voter ID laws, and the first time it has attempted to get the Supreme Court to require strict photo ID, which it calls the “Motor Voter” law.
In its request to the Supreme Court, the RNC, along with other groups, argued that the Supreme Court should step in and force strict photo ID laws because the states had been on the wrong side of the law for months. That is, they argued, a violation of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
The Supreme Court had an opportunity to take up this issue after the D.C. Circuit found that the voter ID law in North Carolina, like Indiana’s ID requirement, violated the 14th and 15th Amendments. The Supreme Court has agreed to consider the issue for itself.
Shelby County, which includes the states of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee, claimed after the Supreme Court’s ruling that it had done its duty and that they had no further recourse because the Supreme Court had not yet heard the case