Huge Win: U.S. Supreme Court Delivers Massive Blow To Republicans For Violating Black Voters’ Rights
In a decisive ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a request to reinstate a North Carolina’s 2013 voting law that a lower court found discriminated against African American voters, the Washington Post reports.
Democrats, civil rights groups, and minority groups celebrated the demise of the law. It was one of numerous voting rights changes passed by Republican-led legislatures in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision striking down a key section of the Voting Rights Act that effectively removed federal oversight of states with a history of discrimination.
“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,” said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.
In 2016, a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit had found that North Carolina legislators selectively chose voter-ID requirements, reduced the number of early-voting days and changed registration procedures in ways meant to harm African-Americans, who overwhelmingly vote for the Democratic Party.
“The new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision” and “impose cures for problems that did not exist,” Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote for the panel. “Thus the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the state’s true motivation.”
The appeals court did not allow the law to be used in the 2016 election, and voters replaced Republican governor Pat McCrory with Democrat Roy Cooper.
Cooper and the state’s new Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein told the Supreme Court they did not want to appeal the lower court’s decision that the law violated the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.
“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,’ ” Cooper said, according to the report. “I will continue to work to protect the right of every legal, registered North Carolinian to participate in our democratic process.
North Carolina legislative leaders did not immediately respond to a request for comment about what the next step may be.
The Supreme Court will soon rule on a case about whether the state’s congressional districts were racially gerrymandered, as a lower court found. And federal judges have also said the state must redraw state legislative districts for the same reason.