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home : state news : e-state news August 18, 2017

5/15/2017 2:54:00 PM
Supreme Court Action Stops NC Voter ID
High court declines to hear an appeal by the state of an Appeals Court decision overturning the law
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer

The Supreme Court effectively upheld a Court of Appeals Decision Monday (May 15th) that struck down North Carolina's voter i-d law.

The Court announced that it would not consider the case. That left in place the appeals court ruling that struck down key parts of the law as an unconstitutional effort to target African American voters.

The justices gave no reason for declining to hear the case. They don't usually. But Chief Justice John Roberts issued a statement saying that nothing should be read into the Court’s decision to decline to hear it.

The law, enacted by the Republican-controlled General Assembly in 2013, imposed several voting restrictions, including the voter identification requirement.

Jackie D.

The North Carolina NAACP was one of the groups that filed suit claiming that the law violated the Constitution and what remained of the Voting Rights Act after a 5-4 Supreme Court decision ended much of the federal oversight of elections in Southern states. A judge decided against the plaintiffs upholding the state law, but a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed.

Monday (May 15th) the Supreme Court denied the request by leadership of the North Carolina General Assembly to review NC NAACP v. McCrory, thus reinforcing the appeals court decision of July 29th, 2016.

In that decision, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found unconstitutional five racially discriminatory provisions of 2013 “monster HB 589, saying the provisions “targeted African Americans with almost surgical precision,” and “imposed cures for problems that did not exist.”

After the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, the NC NAACP president, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, released a statement saying in part:

“Today we experience a victory for justice that is unimaginably important for African Americans, Latinos, all North Carolinians, and the nation.

"The Supreme Court’s rejection today of the General Assembly leadership’s position tells the people of North Carolina and across the country that the right to vote unencumbered by expansive restrictions or by racist politicians or racist policies is fundamental, and that under the laws of the land, it will be upheld."

“The impact of this decision is hard to overstate,” explained NAACP Attorney Irv Joyner. “North Carolina voters will now – permanently – be able to vote free of a restrictive, discriminatory photo ID requirement at the polls and access the full early voting period and the option of same-day registration, which allows all eligible voters to register and vote at the same time during the early voting period."

“The NC State Conference of the NAACP, and all of its local branches are reinforced by this ruling, as we continue our mobilization efforts to educate and assist local communities on their right to vote and the role of ‘we the people’ in our imperiled democracy,” Rev. Dr. Barber stated. “We urge the General Assembly to finally accept that racially discriminatory laws have no place in our democracy, and certainly not when it comes to the sacred right to vote. The legislature cannot erect barriers that are plainly motivated by a desire to disenfranchise African-American and Latino voters and undermine the growing voting strength of communities of color. Now is the time to move forward toward a shared prosperous future for all North Carolinians and to heal the core of our democracy in this State and in this nation.”

Earlier Monday, Dr. Barber had held a news conference to announce that he is taking a new job as leader of the Poor People’s Campaign: A Call For A National Moral Revival. He will step down from the presidency of the North Carolina NAACP in June, but will remain on the national board of directors of the NAACP and continue on as a member of the North Carolina NAACP State Conference.


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