The US Supreme Court ruled 8-1 on Thursday, June 23 that the North Carolina legislature could intervene to defend the state’s voter ID law against legal challenges in federal court.

The ruling is a major win for the Republican North Carolina General Assembly, which has claimed that the defense of the voter ID law by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein was “tepid” and noted that Stein has publicly opposed the law.

North Carolina state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) in a press release stated, “North Carolinians overwhelmingly support voter ID, and they deserve nothing less than the strongest representation from those who would uphold the will of the voters and our constitution, not a tepid defense by an attorney general who has a record of opposing voter ID. As stated in today’s decision ‘More than once a North Carolina attorney general has opposed laws enacted by the General Assembly and declined to defend them fully in federal litigation.’”

President Pro Tem of the state Senate Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) in a press release said, “North Carolinians deserve to have their laws vigorously defended in court. Gov. Cooper and Attorney General Stein’s opposition to voter ID has resulted in them intentionally sandbagging the defense of a law the majority of North Carolinians support. Today the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that.  I’m thankful for today’s ruling and look forward to fighting to implement our state’s voter ID law.”

Allowing the state legislature to intervene will also prevent Stein from making a settlement to the legal challenge without the approval of the legislature.

The US Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of the legal challenge to the North Carolina Voter ID Law, but allowing the Republican led legislature to hire its own attorneys and intervene in the case radically changes the playing field.