North Carolina decision could prove ominous for other states
In a stunning decision watched closely by other states, the Supreme Court on Wednesday, in a 4-4 split, left standing an appeals court decision that gutted North Carolina’s voter ID provisions.
The plan by the state to protect the integrity of its elections had been affirmed in a nearly 500-page decision by a district court judge, but this summer a panel from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals claimed it targeted minority voters.
The single-page order from the Supreme Court provided no explanation for the decision, but it revealed Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas would have given the state at least temporary relief until the full arguments were heard.
Ruth Ginsberg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer, the well-established liberal coalition on the bench, affirmed the appeals court’s decision.
It means the state’s planned cutbacks on early voting and limits on the preregistration of those who are 16 won’t be on the books for the 2016 election.