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Paul, Weiss Associates Recognized as “Pro Bono Heroes” by Reuters
- September 29, 2021
The pair, alongside co-counsel Southern Coalition for Social Justice, were recognized for their voting rights trial win on September 16 when a three-judge panel of the Wake County Superior Court struck down North Carolina’s 2018 voter ID law, S.B. 824. The court found that the evidence at trial showed that the enactment of the law was “motivated at least in part by an unconstitutional intent to target African American voters.”
The article—which features one pro bono achievement each month—noted the extensive evidence produced by the Paul, Weiss team, much of it cited in the panel’s decision. The team noted North Carolina’s long history of racially discriminatory voting laws, such as a literacy test, poll tax and legislative districts that diluted Black voting power. They also recounted the atypical sequence of events leading to the law’s passage: state legislators during a lame duck session overrode the veto of North Carolina’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, days before Republicans lost their supermajority, and after the state’s racially gerrymandered districts were ordered redrawn, which “suggests that Republicans wanted to entrench themselves by passing their preferred, and more restrictive, version of a voter ID law,” the panel noted.
The win shows that “state courts can be a meaningful alternative to protect voting rights if the environment in the (U.S. Supreme Court) is less than receptive,” Paul told Reuters.
As noted in the article, the team also included litigation partners Andrew Ehrlich and Jane O’Brien and associates Benjamin Symons, Amitav Chakraborty, Ryan Rizzuto, Taylor Williams and Samuel Patterson, as well as co-counsel Allison Riggs, co-executive director of programs and chief counsel for voting rights at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.