South Carolina's voter ID law will go on trial before a panel of judges in a federal court in D.C. from Aug. 27 until Aug. 31, according to court documents filed Tuesday. The case will be heard by U.S. District Judges Brett M. Kavanaugh, John D. Bates and Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. Kavanaugh and Bates were appointed by President George W. Bush; Kollar-Kotelly was appointed by President Bill Clinton. Judge Bates wrote an opinion upholding the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act.
The Justice Department blocked the state's law in December and South Carolina sued a few months later in a complaint authored by former Solicitor General Paul Clement, considered one of the best conservative attorneys to appear before the Supreme Court. Another one of the lawyers hired by South Carolina is a former DOJ official who signed off on the controversial New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case and has accused the Justice Department of bias against white people.
A separate panel of federal judges expressed skepticism about Texas' voter ID law during a trial last month. A decision in that case is expected before the South Carolina trial begins. Both cases could ultimately be headed for the Supreme Court, with either state challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires certain states with a history of racial discrimination to have changes to their election laws approved by DOJ or a federal court.
Correction: Kollar-Kotelly was a Clinton appointee to the federal bench, but had earlier been nominated by D.C. Superior Court by President Ronald Reagan.