South Carolina Beats DOJ (Again) Over Voter ID Law
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has beaten U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder once again in the voter ID litigation bowl, this time in a dispute over costs.
On Friday, January 4, a three-judge panel of the District of Columbia federal court declared that South Carolina was the “prevailing party” under an applicable federal statute that allows the state to obtain reimbursement for its litigation costs from not only the Justice Department (DOJ), but the so-called civil rights organizations like the NAACP and the South Carolina Progressive Network that intervened in the lawsuit to stop the state’s voter ID statute.
The court considered South Carolina the prevailing party because although it “did not obtain everything it sought,” South Carolina did achieve its main objective: “[I]t obtained preclearance of Act R54 for elections in 2013 and subsequent years.”
The expenses for which South Carolina was seeking reimbursement are relatively minor in comparison to the overall expenses that the state incurred successfully fighting the DOJ. The court awarded South Carolina the costs of various transcripts of depositions, hearings, the trial, and the audio recordings of the legislative history of the voter ID law. According to Wilson, the state spent $3.5 million in total on costs and attorneys’ fees.