NC Republican Leaders, Calling 4th Circuit Panel “Partisan,” Vow #SCOTUS Appeal

Here’s the inflammatory statement:

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. We will obviously be appealing this politically-motivated decision to the Supreme Court.”

My earlier analysis of the 4th Circuit ruling touched on the possibility of Supreme Court review, but let me say a few words here.

North Carolina could first go to the Supreme Court on an emergency basis to seek a stay of the 4th Circuit order, which if successful would have the effect of putting some of the provisions, like voter id, back into effect.  Some of the others were blocked by a preliminary injunction, so a SCOTUS order would have them go into effect for the first time.

I think such emergency relief is unlikely. The Court is divided 4-4 on ideological lines about these voter id and similar laws. At best NC could hope for 4 votes for emergency relief, unless the argument was one about timing (though I think we are far enough from the election that a timing argument would not work).

North Carolina could also file a cert. petition, and the timeline there for responses and a Supreme Court decision whether or not to hear the case could take longer. There is certainly a meaty question in the case—how to decide when a jurisdiction has a racially discriminatory intent when race and party so intersect, especially in the South?—but here too, the prospect of a 4-4 SCOTUS tie looms, and it is hard to see whether the Justices will be willing to bite.  (Now if there is a Justice Garland by then, I think it is pretty clear the Court does not take the case, because conservatives won’t want to take the risk and liberals will be satisfied with the 4th Circuit opinion).

So I rate the chances of SCOTUS review slim but not impossible.

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