by Sam Hieb
The federal trial challenging North Carolina’s voter ID law wrapped up in Winston-Salem on Monday, with attorneys on both sides of the issue making their closing arguments:
Penda Hair, an attorney for the N.C. NAACP, said evidence presented during the trial clearly shows that the photo ID requirement would make it harder for blacks and Hispanics to cast ballots in this year’s election. It’s undisputed, she said, that blacks disproportionately lack the kinds of photo IDs that they would need to show when they come to the polls.
But Thomas Farr, one of the attorneys for the state, told U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder that he heard not one shred of evidence that the photo ID requirement would keep blacks and Hispanics from voting, primarily because the law hasn’t even been implemented yet. The first time it would be enforced would be during the March primaries.
“At the end of the day, this is a policy dispute,” he said. “If the federal court can throw out this law, without evidence, then federalism is a dead letter.”
Winston-Salem Journal reports it’s not clear when U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder will issue a ruling, which obviously means it may or may not come before the state’s March 15 primary.
Not to be left out of the spotlight, NAACP president Rev. William Barber stood outside the courthouse, claiming the voter ID represented a latter-day form of Jim Crow laws, adding “we do not need James Crow Esquire leading us down the same path again.”