The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a lower court’s earlier repeal of North Carolina’s severely restrictive voter ID law, thus handing Democrats and other voting rights advocates a major victory.
An important note is that the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear this appeal doesn’t necessarily indicate that they have upheld the merits of the repeal. Rather, with the North Carolina government going through a major upheaval last November, the question of who was even authorized to make an appeal became muddled.
The state’s new Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, attempted to withdraw the state’s earlier filed appeal upon his assumption of the office. Lawyers for the state’s General Assembly have, however, argued against that, with the Supreme Court, as mentioned, simply refusing to hear either side of the argument.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts offered the following statement:
‘Given the blizzard of filings over who is and who is not authorized to seek review in the court under North Carolina law, it is important to recall our frequent admonition that the denial of writ of certiorari imports no expression of opinion on the merits.’
Of course, no matter the Supreme Court’s opinion on the merits of their actions that effectively uphold the law’s overturning, civil rights groups have expressed satisfaction at the latest turn of events.
Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, commented: “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.”
And it wasn’t just the wildly well known ACLU that expressed satisfaction with the North Carolina voter ID law being kept down.
Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said that the court’s refusal to hear North Carolina’s appeal of a lower court’s move to overturn their law “now renders North Carolina’s law null and void, and brings to a close a long and protracted battle over a law deemed one of the most egregious voter suppression measures of its kind.”
The law, as referenced above, targeted minority voters with almost “surgical precision,” requiring a photo ID to vote that many such individuals simply don’t have. It was originally struck down ahead of the 2016 general election.
The response to the court’s decision wasn’t all niceties, with Let America Vote’s Jason Kander commenting: “Remember: Whenever a voter suppression law goes down in court, GOP politicians come back with a new version. We have to keep fighting!”
Remember: Whenever a voter suppression law goes down in court, GOP politicians come back with a new version. We have to keep fighting! https://t.co/bypHBhLtkw
— Jason Kander (@JasonKander) May 15, 2017
Featured Image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images