The Supreme Court Just Killed North Carolina’s Discriminatory Voter ID Law

In another defeat for Republican efforts to keep African-Americans from voting, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal to reinstate North Carolina’s Voter ID law.

Chief Justice Roberts cited uncertainty over who was authorized to seek a review of the law:

The Speaker and the President pro tempore of the Assembly have also filed a conditional motion to intervene, asking this Court to add the General Assembly as a petitioner in the event the Court finds that the Attorney General may withdraw the petition. The private respondents have filed a reply, arguing that the Speaker and the President pro tempore lack standing to intervene because North Carolina law does not authorize them to represent the State’s interests in federal court. According to the private respondents, the Speaker and the President pro tempore erroneously rely on a state statute that governs intervention in state proceedings.

Given the blizzard of filings over who is and who is not authorized to seek review in this Court under North Carolina law, it is important to recall our frequent admonition that “[t]he denial of a writ of certiorari imports no expression of opinion upon the merits of the case.”

The confusion over who is authorized to seek a review means that a lower court decision ruling that the law was written to “target African-Americans with surgical precision” will stand.
The Voter ID bill is dead, and now with a Democratic governor at the helm, it won’t be coming back anytime soon without a major fight.

The Supreme Court’s decision is a reminder of why governors elections, along with other state and local races matters.

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.