An evenly divided U.S. Supreme Court refused to reinstate North Carolina’s Republican-backed voting restrictions for the November election, leaving intact a lower court’s conclusion that lawmakers intentionally discriminated against racial minorities.
The high court rejected the state’s bid to halt much of the federal appeals court ruling, dividing 4-4 on the central questions. The rebuff — issued without explanation — is a victory for the Obama administration and civil rights groups, which challenged the North Carolina law and won a ruling that is likely to help Democrats in November.
The North Carolina law imposed photo-identification requirements, reduced the number of early-voting days and eliminated same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting.
A three-judge panel said the provisions “target African Americans with almost surgical precision,” violating the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee and the Voting Rights Act. A federal trial judge had upheld the law.