Court Battles

Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal in NC voter ID case

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear North Carolina’s appeal of a lower court’s decision to strike down its voter ID law, effectively killing the law.

The court declined to overturn a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals judge’s ruling striking down the controversial 2013 law.

{mosads}In the lower court ruling, a judge found that North Carolina’s ballot restrictions targeted black voters “with almost surgical precision.”

The Fourth Circuit ruling said that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five ways, all which disproportionately affected black voters.

The law required voters to present an approved form of photo identification before casting a valid ballot; reduced the early voting period from 17 to 10 days; eliminated out-of-precinct voting; eliminated same-day registration and voting; and eliminated preregistration by 16-year-olds.

In a statement, Chief Justice John Roberts noted that the court’s refusal to hear the case isn’t a judgment on its merits. 

“Given the blizzard of filings over who is and who is not authorized to seek review in this Court under North Carolina law, it is important to recall our frequent admonition that ‘the denial of a writ of certiorari imports no expression of opinion upon the merits of the case,’ ” he said.  

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez in a statement on Monday called the decision a “huge victory for voters and a massive blow to Republicans trying to restrict access to the ballot, especially in communities of color.”

“Across the country, the GOP has rammed through laws like this one to make it harder, not easier, for Americans to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” he said. “Democrats believe that voting is a fundamental right in America, and that our democracy is stronger when more people participate in our elections, not fewer.”

Perez also noted that the DNC created a voter protection and empowerment united in response to “stand up and resist the ongoing assault on the right to vote from Trump and the GOP.”

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) were also quick to hail Monday’s decision as a victory.

“This law, enacted with what the appeals court called discriminatory intent and ‘almost surgical precision’ targeting African-American voters, is meeting its much-deserved demise,” Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in a statement.

“An ugly chapter in voter suppression is finally closing.”

Conservatives, meanwhile, called the Supreme Court’s decision “disappointing.”

“It is disappointing that the Supreme Court did not accept for review an obviously wrong decision by a 4th Circuit panel that doesn’t follow the Court’s own precedent and other decisions on voter ID by other federal courts,” Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Reform Initiative, said in a statement.

–This report was updated at 11:50 a.m.




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