Supreme Court Rejects Revival of Restrictive North Carolina Voting Law that Federal Appeals Court Struck Down as Unconstitutional Effort to Target Blacks

People celebrated at a church in Raleigh on Monday after the Supreme Court declined to hear a case over North Carolina’s voter ID law, leaving in place a lower-court ruling that struck down key parts of the law as an unconstitutional effort to target African-Americans. Credit Robert Willett/The News & Observer

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to revive a restrictive North Carolina voting law that a federal appeals court had struck down as an unconstitutional effort to “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” 

The court’s decision not to hear an appeal in the case effectively overturned one of the most far-reaching attempts by Republicans to counter what they contended, without evidence, was widespread voter fraud in North Carolina. The law rejected the forms of identification used disproportionately by blacks, including IDs issued to government employees, students and people receiving public assistance.

Democrats and civil rights groups, wary of the Supreme Court now that it has regained a conservative majority with the appointment of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, welcomed the announcement that it would not hear the case.

“An ugly chapter in voter suppression is finally closing,” said Dale Ho, director of the A.C.L.U.’s Voting Rights Project.

The leaders of North Carolina’s Republican-controlled Legislature vowed that they would seek to enact new voting restrictions after their defeat.

“All North Carolinians can rest assured that Republican legislators will continue fighting to protect the integrity of our elections by implementing the common sense requirement to show a photo ID when we vote,” House Speaker Tim Moore and Phil Berger, the president pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate, said in a statement.

But their options will be limited by the appeals court decision and will most likely face opposition from Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat who welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the appeal.

“Today’s announcement is good news for North Carolina voters,” Mr. Cooper said in a statement. “We need to be making it easier to vote, not harder.”

The divisions in the state’s leadership, which led to a dispute about who represented the state in the case, figured in the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear it, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in a statement that accompanied the court’s one-sentence order. He added that nothing should be read into the court’s decision to decline to hear the case.

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Source: The New York Times |