SCOTUS Won't Review Blockbuster NC Voting Rights Case

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 decision leaves in place a July 2016 ruling by the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled the law passed by a Republican-controlled legislature and signed by former n.C. Governor Pat McCrory was discriminatory.

It's important to note that Chief Justice John Roberts, who was key to the Supreme Court's decision to effectively neuter the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in 2013, on Monday wrote that the decision to not review the North Carolina case should not be viewed as support or opposition of the North Carolina law itself, but rather about who represented the state itself.

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.

The 4th Circuit's ruling last summer has been widely cited for its scorching language about the law, calling it "the most restrictive voting law North Carolina has seen since the era of Jim Crow", which targeted "African Americans with nearly surgical precision".

Keeping with custom, the Supreme Court did not announce why the appeal would not be heard, and that the refusal did not reflect on its merits. Lawyers for the state legislature wanted to continue the appeal.

"We are grateful that the Supreme Court has made a decision to allow the 4th Circuit's ruling to stand, confirming that discrimination has no place in our democracy and elections", said Allison Riggs, senior staff attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

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Republicans defended their law by claiming that it didn't target black voters because of their race, but because they vote heavily Democratic, using a still brazenly undemocratic argument that the law was about party, not race.

Even if a General Assembly appeal fails, another voting rights case could make its way to the Supreme Court.

The rules were slammed by the Obama administration as deliberately targeting African Americans, who traditionally vote Democrat, and prompted a law suit by the NAACP, the leading civil rights group for African Americans.

The ACLU and other plaintiffs had lost their initial challenge to the voter restrictions when a trial judge found they did not violate the U.S. Constitution, but won on appeal in the 4th Circuit Court.

Cooper said in a statement that Monday's "announcement is good news for North Carolina voters". A study published last week found that Wisconsin's strict voter-ID law, which was struck down but later reinstated, reduced turnout by 200,000 votes in last year's presidential election and disproportionately affected black and Democratic-leaning voters.

According to the report, 100,258 North Carolinians used same-day registration in the November election, an increase from the 97,100 who used the process in the 2012 general election.

The Supreme Court considered the North Carolina case at its private conference last Thursday.

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