The Supreme Court announced Monday that it would not review a monumental appeals court decision knocking down North Carolina’s omnibus restrictive voter law. In announcing that the court was denying the petition, Chief Justice John Roberts reiterated the case’s procedural complications: the state’s new Democratic governor has tried to withdraw the appeal, prompting an attempt by the GOP legislature to intervene to defend the law.
“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 said, citing a 1923 Supreme Court case.
The North Carolina case marked the first official move by the Supreme Court relating to voting rights since Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s selection, took the bench. Last summer, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 2013 North Carolina law — which included a voter ID requirement and cutbacks to early voting — was racially discriminatory in its intent.
The case was then appealed to Supreme Court, but, upon his election, North Carolina’s new Gov. Roy Cooper (D), and Democratic attorney General Josh Stein sought to withdraw the appeal. In response, Republican leaders in the state house asked to intervene to continue defending the law. Both procedural questions, as well as the case on its merits, were up for review at the high court.