Supreme Court Declines To Reinstate North Carolina's Voter ID Law

Olive Rios
May 20, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court court on Monday declined to consider reinstating North Carolina's 2013 elections law which includes a voter ID requirement and other restrictions on voting. "As the Supreme Court discussed whether to hear the case, the state under a new Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, asked to withdraw the appeal".

"But, on the day after the Supreme Court issued Shelby County v. Holder, 133 S. Ct. 2612 (2013), eliminating preclearance obligations, a leader of the party that newly dominated the legislature (and the party that rarely enjoyed African American support) announced an intention to enact what he characterized as an "omnibus" election law", the official transcript states.

"We need to be making it easier to vote, not harder - and the court found this law sought to discriminate against African-American voters with 'surgical precision, ' " Cooper said in a statement after the Supreme Court acted.

I believe that the North Carolina voting rights case was not a clean enough headshot for what these people want to do, and so the Supreme Court punted while John Roberts begged for a better case.

Myrna Perez, a lawyer at the liberal-leaning Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law that has challenged the Texas law, said the Supreme Court is likely to take up that case or a similar dispute from Wisconsin.

Last summer the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit reversed the judge's ruling, holding that the state legislature had passed the law with discriminatory intent.

"An ugly chapter in voter suppression is finally closing", Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Voting Rights Project, said in a statement.

The law was criticized for enacting rules that appeared created to sideline African American voters, such as reducing the time period for early voting, prohibiting voters from registering on the day of the election, and forcing them to present certain types of photo ID. Pat McCrory signed them into law. The Republican leadership of the General Assembly then attempted to pursue the appeal on its own.

The Rev. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, the lead organizational plaintiff in the case, said, "Today we experience a victory for justice that is unimaginably important for African Americans, Latinos, all North Carolinians, and the nation". Democrats have said such laws are voter suppression measures meant to make it harder for groups that tend to back Democratic candidates, including black and Hispanic voters, to cast ballots. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP failed to garner the five votes necessary to be granted a writ of certiorari, meaning that the Fourth Circuit's current ruling against the law will stand for now.

Critics said the commission would justify voter suppression efforts, while state election officials are anxious it could "divert attention from other serious concerns, such as aging equipment and the threat of hacking", she wrote.

Roberts Jr. took pains to note that the court's decision did not reach the merits of the case, but Democrats, civil rights groups and minority groups celebrated the demise of the law.

The court also said the law was enacted with intentional bias against black voters.

The action leaves in place a federal appellate court ruling which previously struck down portions of the law and blocked enforcement.

In the meantime, Republican state lawmakers remain eager to enact new voter restrictions.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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