Okay, folks, here’s the deal. Specifically, this happened this morning:
A federal appeals court on Friday struck down North Carolina’s requirement that voters show identification before casting ballots and reinstated an additional week of early voting.
The decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit was an overwhelming victory for the Justice Department and civil rights groups that argued the voting law was designed to dampen the growing political clout of African American voters, who participated in record numbers in elections in 2008 and 2012.
“We can only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent,” Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote for the panel.
The challenge to North Carolina’s law is one of several cases throughout the country seeking to eliminate strict voting rules in place for the first time in the November presidential contest.
Opponents of the law, led by the state NAACP, asked the three-judge panel to reverse a lower-court ruling that upheld the voting rules.
In 2013, North Carolina lawmakers overhauled election law soon after the Supreme Court got rid of a requirement that certain states with a history of discrimination receive approval before changing voting rules. Legislators eliminated same-day voter registration, rolled back of a week of early voting and put an end to out-of-precinct voting.
During oral arguments, Judges James A. Wynn Jr. and Henry F. Floyd remarked on the timing of the changes and on comments from a state senator who said lawmakers were no longer restrained by the “legal headache” of the Voting Rights Act.
The timing “looks pretty bad to me,” Floyd said, prompting murmurs of agreement from the courtroom packed with opponents of the law, some of whom traveled from North Carolina to the Richmond-based appeals court.
The same three-judge panel — Motz, Wynn and Floyd — had earlier ordered the state to keep same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct voting in effect as the case made its way through the courts.
— Appeals court strikes down North Carolina’s voter-ID law, Ann E. Marimow, Washington Post, 12:34 p.m. today
Now understand this: The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals went in the last seven years from an extreme rightwing court to a really good one.
So if you’re a progressive, whatever else you want to claim, do not—I mean it; I do not—claim it’s a good idea to sit out this election, or vote for Trump, in order to teach those Democrats a lesson. (Bernie Sanders and his supporters did that–taught the Democrats a lesson–actually. And those of us who will vote for Clinton still are. At least those of us who blog.)
If you don’t actually understand what the lower federal courts do, and you trust me at all, then trust me on this. This matters.
It matters, folks. It matters.
(I’d say, “Believe me.” But, well … that line’s already copyrighted for this election cycle. The copyright expires on November 9, 2016, I believe.)
And, yes, I predicted this would happen, because I know about the Fourth Circuit. And I know this will stick, because I remember that Antonin Scalia died a few months ago, and John Roberts hasn’t yet figured out how to resurrect him.
I wish I had a football to spike. I don’t, but maybe I’ll buy one today for the occasion.
But seriously, this is no game. I implore you not to treat it as one. It’s not football. And it’s not, um, Russian Roulette.
Unless you make it that.