U.S. Supreme Court

North Carolina's request to use strict voting law fails in SCOTUS tie vote

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In a 4-4 vote on Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant a request by North Carolina to use its strict voter ID law in the November election.

Five votes were needed to stay a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the law, report the Washington Post, the National Law Journal, the New York Times, SCOTUSblog and the Election Law Blog.

The Post calls the stay refusal “a major victory” for the Obama administration and civil rights groups that challenged the law. Pro bono lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis had represented the North Carolina Conference of the NAACP in the challenge to the law.

The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had struck down the law on July 26, finding that lawmakers acted “with racially discriminatory intent.”

North Carolina’s emergency stay request had sought to implement provisions of the law requiring a photo ID, reducing the number of days for early voting, and ending preregistration of 16 and 17 year olds.

The four justices voting in favor of a stay were Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Samuel A. Alito Jr., and Clarence Thomas. Thomas would have granted the stay in its entirety, while the other three justices would have allowed the disputed provisions to take effect, with the exception of the preregistration provision. The order denying the stay is here (PDF).

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