Supreme Court Rejects Appeal for North Carolina Voter ID Law

Liberal activists are celebrating the end of North Carolina's 2013 election law, which required photo ID at the polls; eliminated same-day voter registration; and reduced the state's early-voting period by one week.

A unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit had found in 2016 that North Carolina legislators had acted "with nearly surgical precision" to blunt the influence of African American voters.

Chief Justice John Roberts said the political situation created uncertainty over who is authorized to seek review of the lower court ruling.

The nation's highest court refused to consider an appeal by North Carolina Republicans, NPR's Pam Fessler reports.

"The District Court clearly erred in ignoring or dismissing this historical background evidence, all of which supports a finding of discriminatory intent", U.S. Circuit Judge Diana Motz wrote for the court's three-judge panel.

Although the appeal was submitted by the former Republican state governor Pat McCrory, he has since been replaced by Democrat Roy Cooper-who has tried to withdraw the case.

On Monday, civil rights groups celebrated the Supreme Court's decision to stay out of the dispute.

Democrats have ignored what they considered little elections for years, but the North Carolina voter ID case demonstrates that little election victories can lead to big wins down the road.

It leaves intact an appellate court ruling striking down the North Carolina law, though it also leaves unsettled some crucial issues that are likely to come back in another case and on another day.

Almost without fail, voter ID is an attempt to suppress Democratic votes and engineer Republican election wins.

Republicans have said laws like the one in North Carolina are needed to prevent voter fraud.

Before enacting the voter ID law, Motz noted, "the legislature requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices", and "upon receipt of the race data, the General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans". Specifically, the court ruled in a 5-4 decision that more than a dozen states and municipalities with histories of racial discrimination would no longer require federal oversight to change their election laws.

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal filed by Republican legislators to overturn a lower court ruling that voiced the state's voter I.D. law. The move left in place a federal appeals court ruling that struck down key parts of the law as an unconstitutional effort to "target African Americans with nearly surgical precision".

Per custom, the Supreme Court did not offer an official reason for their decision not to hear the case.

But they were unable to find a necessary fifth vote from one of the court's four liberals. Last month, a federal judge found that a voter ID law in Texas, similar to the one in North Carolina, was enacted with the goal to discriminate against blacks and Hispanics in the state. Democrats have said the 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.

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