The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Governor Pat McCrory’s appeal for a stay in the voter ID case today, with a 4–4 deadlock once again leaving a lower court decision in place. The July decision made by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to rule the state’s voter ID law unconstitutional will stand.
The decision was a 4-4 deadlock, with Clarence Thomas voting to grant a stay to all of the provisions of the law, and the other three conservatives—Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito—opting to grant the stay to all provisions except for preregistration, which means sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds can once again register to vote ahead of their first eligible election. The four liberals—Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer—voted to deny the stay.
The last seat on the court is currently vacant due to Antonin Scalia’s death back in February, as well as the U.S. Senate’s refusal to hold a hearing for President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Scalia, Merrick Garland. So thank you, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis.
Below is the stay order.
“The Supreme Court acted in the best interest of North Carolina voters, allowing elections this
fall to proceed absent the cloud and concern of racially discriminatory voting laws,” Southern Coalition for Social Justice senior attorney Allison Riggs said in a statement. “Hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians will now be able to vote without barriers. The voting booth is the one place where everyone is equal and where we all have the same say.”
Here’s the ACLU’s press release:
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed the law was enacted “with discriminatory intent,” against African Americans and issued a sweeping ruling on July 29 that blocked voter ID and restored a week of early voting, same-day registration, preregistration, and out-of-precinct provisional voting.
“The Supreme Court was correct to deny North Carolina’s last-ditch effort to undermine African-American voter participation in the November election. This ruling means that thousands of voters who would have been disenfranchised will now be able to participate in the presidential election,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.
And Democracy NC’s:
WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Supreme Court refused a request by the state of North Carolina to temporarily block part of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling striking down North Carolina’s restrictive 2013 voting law. With today’s decision, a federal appeals court’s July ruling will, at least through 2016, block North Carolina’s photo ID requirement and restore preregistration, a week of Early Voting, same-day registration, and out-of-precinct provisional voting. …
“Now that the Supreme Court has settled the law for this fall, it’s time for Gov. McCrory and Republican leaders to end the costly wrangling and invest in making sure voters face no new roadblocks to having their voices heard when Early Voting begins on October 20,” said Democracy North Carolina Executive Director Bob Hall.
We’ll have more to say about this soon.