SCOTUS Says No to North Carolina’s Plan to Restore Controversial Voter ID Law

SCOTUS building

The Supreme Court hampered North Carolina legal efforts to get back into effect some controversial provisions in its GOP-sponsored voter ID law.

On a 4 to 4 vote, the nation’s highest court reach a deadlock on the issue. So, it left unchanged a previous ruling that had rejected the law. Under the new Supreme Court order, five controversial anti-election fraud measures will not apply to the November election.

The Obama administration and civil rights advocates praised the latest decision. Critics of the law have argued that the provisions discriminate against racial minorities.

Last month, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the rules that reportedly targeted black people with “surgical precision.”

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary R. Clinton praised the ruling on her Twitter account. She seemed happy with the “great news” and urged states to make voting a less complicated process.

Also, she tweeted that authorities should ensure they hear “every voice in our democracy.”

North Carolina brought the case to the Supreme Court in a last-moment attempt to freeze the appellate court’s decision before the November election. State attorneys had argued that overturning the provisions would just create confusion two months before the election.

North Carolina’s Arguments

Gov. Pat McCrory expressed his discontent with the high court’s ruling describing the voter ID law as a “common-sense” law. He added that POTUS has just denied the southeastern state “basic voting rights” that prevent voting fraud.

McCrory explained that the controversial provisions were set in place to ensure the “integrity of one person, one vote” system.

Paul Clement, one of the attorneys that represented the state, argued in the documents submitted to the Supreme Court that the lower court’s ruling was “extraordinary.” He noted that voter ID laws in other states are far more restrictive than North Carolina’s.

Clement and his team of lawyers sought to persuade the Supreme Court to reinstate at least three provisions before the general election. The new law removes voter preregistration procedure, which enables people under 18 to preregister even if they wouldn’t have the legal age to vote in November.

Additionally, it reduced the time frame for early voting from 17 days to ten. And it requires from voters to present a photo ID before they cast a ballot.

Democrats Rejoice

On the other hand, critics of the law argued that the lower court’s ruling won’t have a major impact on the general election since North Carolina has already implemented the opinion.

For example, authorities have posted on an official website the appeals court ruling and a comment that voters won’t need a photo ID at the polls.

The Department of Justice and civil rights activists deemed the law racially discriminatory. Solicitor General Ian Gershengorn explained that the regular procedures against a discriminatory piece of legislation involve that law’s suspension.

Clinton’s general counsel Marc Elias said the latest order is a “big win” for the state’s voters.

Nevertheless, this Wednesday’s deadlock on voting rights may herald other election process-related deadlocks. And this may prompt Congress to push for the nomination of a ninth justice ahead of the general election.

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