Last week I explained the following:
North Carolina has filed its reply brief in the North Carolina voting case, and the Supreme Court is set to review it at its March 3 conference. (If the Court does grant review, it typically takes at least two conferences before that announcement is made.)
A few weeks ago, I wrote at Slate that “in the short term, there’s one simple action that could make voting rights a bit more secure: Roy Cooper, the new Democratic governor of North Carolina, and the state’s new Attorney General Josh Stein should withdraw a petition for writ of certiorari pending at the Supreme Court to review the 4th Circuit’s decision striking down North Carolina’s strict voting law.” I followed that up with a blog post stating that NC law was not clear on whether the Governor had the authority to withdraw the petition, but at the least he could put in a letter expressing his disagreement with the argument that the Supreme Court should review the case.
The governor and AG were non-committal, and now it appears they’ve filed nothing. Without explanation. And with a lot riding on this. By the time the Court would hear the case, we likely will have a Fifth conservative Justice and this important opinion could be reversed.
Now comes a press release from the governor’s office:
It is unclear to me what it means for the Board of Elections and its executive director to “remain in the case for the time being.” This again is one of those odd aspects as to who controls North Carolina litigation. Not clear to me if they can get or keep outside counsel. Correction: It appears Republicans still have a majority on this board (at least until the courts decide if the structure of this board can change as NC legislature ordered last year). Also, I am not sure if the Legislature can seek to intervene at this time. I welcome clarification from those who understand North Carolina law on this point.
More as I know it. But getting this case withdrawn would be a big deal and a good thing.
UPDATE: The post from the NC AG says the plaintiffs will give up their right to up to $12 million in attorney’s fees in exchange for dropping the case. That’s a nice way to frame the issue for NC voters.