Democrat-appointed federal judges strike down North Carolina voter ID law

by WorldTribune Staff, July 31, 2016

Three federal judges, all appointed by Democrats, struck down North Carolina’s voter ID law, ruling it was “passed with racially discriminatory intent.”

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory vowed the state would “immediately appeal” the ruling, saying the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals judges were “undermining the integrity of our elections while maligning our state.”

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down North Carolina's vote ID law. /AP
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down North Carolina’s voter ID law. /AP

“Photo IDs are required to purchase Sudafed, cash a check, board an airplane, or enter a federal courtroom,” McCrory added.

The judges were unanimous in ruling that the Republican-controlled North Carolina legislature violated the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act three years ago by enacting the measure requiring voters to show certain types of photo ID at the polls.

The ruling also invalidated limits the same state law placed in 2013 on early voting, same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting, and preregistration.

State Senate leader Phil Berger, Mecklenburg Republican, and North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, Cleveland Republican, issued a joint statement responding to the ruling:

“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 [presidential nominee] Hillary Clinton and [gubernatorial nominee] Roy Cooper to steal the election,” the two leaders said on July 29. “We will obviously be appealing this politically motivated decision to the Supreme Court.”

“The record makes clear that the historical origin of the challenged provisions in this statute is not the innocuous back-and-forth of routine partisan struggle that the State suggests and that the district court accepted,” Judge Diana Motz wrote on behalf of Judges James Wynn and Henry Floyd.

“Rather, the General Assembly enacted them in the immediate aftermath of unprecedented African American voter participation in a state with a troubled racial history and racially polarized voting. The district court clearly erred in ignoring or dismissing this historical background evidence, all of which supports a finding of discriminatory intent.”

Motz was appointed by former President Bill Clinton. Both Floyd and Wynn were appointed by President Barack Obama.

North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber praised the ruling: “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,” he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the plaintiffs in the suit challenging the law, also praised the ruling.

“With surgical precision, North Carolina tried to eliminate voting practices disproportionately used by African-Americans,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “This ruling is a stinging rebuke of the state’s attempt to undermine African-American voter participation, which has surged over the last decade.”

State Sen. Bob Rucho, Mecklenburg Republican said he was amazed at how “three Democrat judges can totally ignore 400 pages of facts (in the previous ruling upholding the law) and come up with a biased decision as they did that opens up the opportunity for voter fraud again by eliminating the photo ID [requirement] and all of the other common-sense efforts that were done in the election law.”

Rucho, who helped write the voter ID law, said two other federal circuits have used North Carolina’s voter ID law as a model for other states.

“The Indiana case, in which the Supreme Court authorized and allowed voter ID, is just totally ignored by these judges,” Rucho said, adding that he suspects the 4th Circuit judges are using the 4-4 partisan split in the U.S. Supreme Court as an opportunity to push through such decisions without being checked by the higher court.

“Apparently, they think they are just immune to any kind of consequence for bad decisions,” Rucho said.

State GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse tweeted: “There were no winners here today. The people of North Carolina lost today.”

In a subsequent statement, Woodhouse said Cooper and state Democrats were overruling the will of the people.

“The voter ID law has already been put into place and was successful in its implementation this year, despite the false predictions from the left,” Woodhouse said. “Preserving integrity at the ballot box is just plain common sense, but Roy Cooper and his liberal allies used endless lawsuits to throw our citizens under the bus. The people of North Carolina deserve a system that ensures every voter is who they say they are as they rightfully cast their vote.”

Meanwhile, Russell Peck, McCrory’s re-election campaign manager, posted a statement with a photo showing a sign from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia showing that a photo ID was required for delegates to pick up their credentials.

“A liberal, activist court just sided with Hillary Clinton, Roy Cooper, and George Soros by striking down North Carolina’s common sense voter ID law,” Peck said. “They didn’t even look at the evidence before making a decision.”

Francis De Luca, president of the Raleigh-based nonprofit policy organization Civitas Institute, said, “North Carolina’s common-sense voter ID law was passed to preserve the security and integrity of our elections process. North Carolina’s voters deserve the confidence that their votes will not be diluted by fraud. Just before a crucial presidential election, the liberal judges of the Fourth Circuit are once again legislating from the bench and seem to be looking for opportunities to overturn North Carolina law at every turn. The continual overreach of the courts like the Fourth Circuit undermines the belief in self-government through elected representatives and our democratic republic.

“It is simply outrageous that the court cites race as a reason for overturning North Carolina’s voter ID law. No one has been able to point to a single example of a voter being disenfranchised as a result of this law. In fact, voter turnout has increased since the law was enacted.”

The 4th Circuit also cited in its opinion a Precinct Chair from Buncombe county, Don Yelton, who was not involved in creation or defense of the Voter ID law, according to

“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,” noted.

WWNC’s Pete Kaliner dedicated his entire radio show on July 29 to Yelton.

Kaliner, in a 2013 article, blasted Yelton for appearing on the Daily Show and “allowing the video slice and dice masters of the Daily Show to make a fool of him and of 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.”

Kim Westbrook Strach, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said that “absent alternative guidance from the courts, voters will not be asked to show photo identification this election. Early voting will run Oct. 20 through Nov. 5, and same-day registration will be available at early voting sites.”