WASHINGTON (AP/WNCN) – The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal to reinstate North Carolina’s voter identification law that a lower court said targeted African Americans “with almost surgical precision.”
The justices on Monday left in place the lower court ruling striking down the law’s photo ID requirement and reduction in early voting.
The situation was complicated when Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein tried to withdraw the appeal, which was first filed when Republican Pat McCrory was governor.
Chief Justice John Roberts said the political situation created uncertainty over who is authorized to seek review of the lower court ruling.
The dispute is similar to the court fight over Texas’ voter ID law, also struck down as racially discriminatory.
Reaction from those opposed to the voter ID law came shortly after the Supreme Court’s rejection of the appeal was announced.
Gov. Roy Cooper released a statement calling the decision “good news.”
Today’s announcement is good news for North Carolina voters. We need to be making it easier to vote, not harder – and the Court found this law sought to discriminate against African-American voters with “surgical precision.” I will continue to work to protect the right of every legal, registered North Carolinian to participate in our democratic process. “
“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,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project in a press release. “An ugly chapter in voter suppression is finally closing.”
The North Carolina Democratic Party’s Chair Wayne Goodwin said the party was “pleased” with the decision.
We are pleased this morning that the Supreme Court declined to review the lower court ruling that invalidated North Carolina’s 2013 voting law. As the Appeals Court decision stated, the law targeted African American voters ‘with almost surgical precision.’ The right to vote is one of the most important, and this is a good day for good government.”
NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes issued a statement that read: “I think their statements today clearly outline that this is something critically important to them and they’re going to move with speed and aggressiveness to get the issue resolved.”
The Democratic National Committee’s Chair Tom Perez also released a statement praising the court’s refusal to reinstate the voter ID law.
This is 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. Thanks to the persistent efforts of civil rights activists and grassroots organizers, this law was exposed for exactly what it was: just another obvious solution in search of a problem, and a disgraceful attack on African Americans, Latinos, working families, students, first-generation Americans, and the elderly.
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. That’s why we’re creating a voter protection and empowerment unit at the DNC to stand up and resist the ongoing assault on the right to vote from Trump and the GOP. We can’t trust Trump, Jeff Sessions, or anyone in this administration to protect access to the ballot box. Today, democracy triumphed over discrimination.”
The North Carolina GOP’s Chairman Robin Hayes will address the Supreme Court’s decision today at 2:30 p.m. in Raleigh.