In a victory for voting rights supporters, the Supreme Court announced Monday that it will leave in place a lower court decision that blocked North Carolina’s infamously racist voting laws.
The decision by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals court’s ruling struck down a number of provisions in the original 2013 law, the New York Times reports:
The appeals court ruling struck down five parts of the law: its voter ID requirements, a rollback of early voting to 10 days from 17, an elimination of same-day registration and of preregistration of some teenagers, and its ban on counting votes cast in the wrong precinct.
As Fusion reported last year, the Fourth Circuit essentially accused North Carolina of openly discriminating against black voters:
Although the new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision, they constitute inapt remedies for the problems assertedly justifying them and, in fact, impose cures for problems that do not exist. Thus the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the state’s true motivation.
The Supreme Court decision hinged on the confusion over who was representing the state in the case.
Former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory appealed the Fourth Circuit’s ruling. But after he lost his bid for re-election to Democrat Roy Cooper, Cooper tried to back out of McCrory’s appeal. As Bloomberg reported, though, “The lawyers pressing the appeal...told the justices that they represented the Republican-controlled General Assembly, not the governor.”
Chief Justice John Roberts issued a statement describing a “blizzard of filings over who is and who is not authorized” to represent North Carolina in the case. He stressed that the decision not to review was not an endorsement of the Fourth Circuit’s opinion.
On Monday morning, Gov. Cooper issued a statement celebrating SCOTUS’ announcement.