The law was enacted by North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature in 2013. Among other things the omnibus law required voters to present an approved form of photo ID before voting; reduced the early voting period from 17 to 10 days; eliminated out-of-precinct voting; and did away with same-day voter registration.
The Justice Department and a number of North Carolina residents sued, claiming the measures violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. as well as the 14th and 15th amendments.
A federal judge dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims after a trial, ruling that they failed to establish either discriminatory impact or intent.
The Fourth Circuit reversed that decision, holding that “the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent.”
While the high court did not explain its rationale for not accepting the case, Chief Justice John Robert did publish a two-page statement on May 15 emphasizing the court did not consider the merits of the case in its denial.
“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,’” Roberts wrote.
In a written statement, Campaign Legal, a voting rights organization called the justice’s decision not to hear the case “a huge victory for both North Carolina voters and the country.”