The big win for voting rights activists at the Supreme Court last week came with an equally big asterisk, and provided new reason for jittery liberals and civil rights groups to continue to fret about Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. The justices without noted dissent on May 15 said they would not consider reviving North Carolina’s sweeping 2013 voting law, which had been struck down by a lower court after years of litigation. A unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit had ruled that the state’s Republican legislative leadership had intentionally crafted the law to blunt the growing political power of African American voters.
The bottom-line importance of the Supreme Court’s pass was clear: the law, opposed by a broad coalition of voting rights groups, civil rights organizations and the Obama Justice Department, cannot be used.
“Today’s announcement is good news for North Carolina voters,” Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said. “I will continue to work to protect the right of every legal, registered North Carolinian to participate in our democratic process.”