The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal to reinstate North Carolina's controversial voter ID law.
The decision will allow the lower court's overturning of the law to stand, Fox News reported.
The case centered on a strict voter ID law that required photo ID, shortened the early voting period by a week, and did away with same-day voter registration and pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds. Critics had attacked the law as limiting minority voters' rights, while an appeal from the Fourth Circuit opinion claimed that the law targeted African Americans "with almost surgical precision."
Some observers found the court's decision to decline the appeal surprising, given that four conservative justices attempted to revive the strict voting law prior to the 2016 election. But the decision came down to the complicated political situation surrounding the lawsuit, according to a statement filed by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Roberts filed a two-page statement along with the denial to hear the appeal, explaining how the choice was motivated by a bizarre political situation caused by "uncertainty over who is authorized to seek review of the lower court ruling," Fox reported.
Roberts made sure to articulate that the court's decision was not due to the judges' opinions on whether the law was racially discriminatory.
"Given the blizzard of filings over who is and who is not authorized to seek review in this court under North Carolina law, it is important to recall our frequent admonition that ‘[t]he denial of a writ of certiorari imports no expression of opinion upon the merits of the case,'" Roberts wrote.
The confusion over authorization initially came when North Carolina's Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein attempted to withdraw an appeal that was filed when Republican Pat McCrory was governor.