Only about four months ago a lower court judge, U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder, upheld North Carolina’s Voter ID law. That ruling was overturned by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday.
This makes the 4th time in 6 months the 4th Circuit has made a ruling directly against North Carolina or a ruling that has implications for the state.
The 4th court panel included judges Diana Gribbon Motz, Henry F. Floyd and James A. Wynn. Motz wrote the opinion and was appointed by former President Bill Clinton. Both Floyd and Wynn were appointees of President Obama. Judge Schroeder is a George W. Bush appointee.
The ruling mainly hinges on the idea of statistical ‘disparate impact’ on African-American voters, yet seemingly ignores the statistical evidence indicating that African-American voter registration and voting have not declined since enactment of the North Carolina Voter ID law, but those numbers have actually increased. After the 2015 ruling in favor of North Carolina’s law, the National Review Online had an article which laid out the same statistics driven strategy being employed in the current 4th Circuit ruling.
The 4th Circuit ruling cites the elimination of same-day registration, pre-registration of 16 to 17 year olds and out-of-precinct voting as all being discriminatory. The 4th Circuit opinion characterized the law’s alterations as being, ” multiple restrictions on voting mechanisms disproportionately used by African-Americans”.
When discussing the number of early voting days being reduced, the 4th Circuit appears to toss out the fact that while the number of days were reduced, the overall number of early voting hours were not. In other words, there is no loss of hours in early voting; the polls are simply open longer on the new set of early voting days.
Of note, a Precinct Chair from Buncombe county was cited in the opinion in a manner indicating he played a role in the North Carolina law, which he didn’t. Not only is Don Yelton only a simple precinct chair in a western county of the state, he was not involved in creation or defense of the Voter ID law — at all.
In fact, citing Yelton served no purpose other than to prop up the 4th Circuit’s main thesis. To add insult to injury, this might very well be the first time a Federal Court has mentioned Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show‘ as a citation backing their opinion.
WWNC’s Pete Kaliner dedicated his entire radio show on Friday to Don Yelton. It’s well worth one’s time to listen to.
Read Kaliner’s 2013 article on Yelton, excoriating him for even going on the Daily Show and allowing the video slice and dice masters of the Daily Show to make a fool of him and of the North Carolina. Yelton is a former life-long Democrat who turned Republican not long before his appearance on the Daily Show and then was kicked out for his behavior.
Buncombe County GOP responded to the ruling in a press release, which was almost entirely about Yelton. In the release, BCGOP Chairman Nathan West said, “Yelton and hiscronies are like a chronic case of hemorrhoids: a real pain in the ass that you can never seem to get rid of.”
The law had survived two challenges in U.S. District court, one in July 2015 and the other in January 2016. Both were overseen by Schroeder. North Carolina’s voter ID law lined up with that of over 20 other states.
Governor McCrory’s statement was short and to the point, “Photo IDs are required to purchase sudafed, cash a check, board an airplane or enter a federal court room. Yet, three Democratic judges are undermining the integrity of our elections while also maligning our state. We will immediately appeal and also review other potential options.”
An appeal to the Supreme Court is already in the works according to the joint statement made by House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham):
“Since today’s decision by three partisan Democrats ignores legal precedent, ignores the fact that other federal courts have used North Carolina’s law as a model, and ignores the fact that a majority of other states have similar protections in place, we can only wonder if the intent is to reopen the door for voter fraud, potentially allowing fellow Democrat politicians like Hillary Clinton and Roy Cooper to steal the election,” they said in the statement. “We will, obviously, be appealing this politically-motivated decision to the Supreme Court.”
The bombastic Moral Monday leader and NC NAACP President, Reverend Barber gave a statement, which opened up by saying that “We are happy today that the 4th Circuit’s Court of Appeals’ decision exposed the racist intent of the extremist element of our government in North Carolina,”.
This ruling comes in succession with the overturning of similar laws in three other states including Kansas, Texas and Wisconsin.
This is a feature, not a bug.
Republican-Authored Voting Laws in Wisconsin, Kansas, North Carolina Overturned https://t.co/Ym4Ym1POx6
— A.P. Dillon – LL1885 (@LadyLiberty1885) July 31, 2016
- 4th Circuit Ruling
- HOUSE BILL 589 (Session Law 2013-381)
- George Soros Bankrolls Democrats’ Fight in Voting Rights Cases
- Watchdog Groups File Brief in Support of Upholding NC Voter ID Law
- NC NAACP Email Theatrics On Voter ID
4th Circuit Specific: