Why the North Carolina voter ID case matters

By hearing North Carolina’s voter ID appeal, the Supreme Court can stop the Left’s transformation of the Voting Rights Act into a partisan political weapon.

They may never admit it, but the civil rights industry is tired of spending millions of dollars only to lose most voter ID fights in court. Instead of declaring defeat, the strategy has shifted to changing the rules of engagement, and trying to transform the Voting Rights Act into something it isn’t. . . .

 

The civil rights industry, which includes swarms of career employees in the Justice Department, has been losing voter ID fights for the better part of a decade. . . .courts have acknowledged that such laws do not target minorities and are equally applied to all. It certainly does not hurt that federal judges are aware that polling shows how voter ID is more popular among poorer minorities than wealthy liberal whites.

 

Because voter ID is overwhelmingly popular, and because courts have largely supported it, they are trying to change what the Voting Rights Act means. They are trying to transform the law away from a protecting against real world disenfranchisement, to a statistical game that aims to protect Democratic political power. If an election theoretically has a disparate impact on Democrats, then the Voting Rights Act is violated.

 

They can press this ugly transformation of America’s most important civil rights law because they have spent 30 years stoking the flames of racial polarization and trying to make “black” synonymous with “Democrat.”

In April 2016, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder issued a 485-page ruling dismissing all claims in the challenge to the state’s 2013 omnibus election reform bill that included voter ID, but in August the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling “by substituting its own version of the facts, even though appeals courts don’t see witnesses, and even though experts for the United States were found to be not credible. This difference between two courts was because of how the Voting Rights Act was read.”

Before the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that existing federal preclearance obligations were based on outdated justifications — an action in popular press falsely branded as “gutting the Voting Rights Act” — North Carolina was held to a standard of guilty-until-proven innocent any time that it wished to change even the slightest election procedure. . . .

 

North Carolina’s election laws are no longer supposed to be judged on those unconstitutional standards, thanks to Shelby. But that didn’t stop the court of appeals from using a bold new version of the Voting Rights Act that imported those obsolete standards. Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the surviving provisions, requires real world causality, where someone actually suffers electoral defeat or denial of the right to vote. The law requires a real world “totality of circumstances” inquiry, not statistical games.

 

The dispute over how to read and enforce the most critical component of the Voting Rights Act has now landed on the Supreme Court’s doorstep. The Public Interest Legal Foundation and others have submitted briefs to support North Carolina’s request for a hearing on its voter ID law. The court of appeals transformed the Voting Rights Act into something it is not. In doing so, it converted the law into a raw partisan weapon that will be used to help Democrats.

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