On Monday Students who have filed suit against the state of North Carolina over new voter suppression legislation (HB589 which Republican messaging call a voter ID bill) have filed a notice of appeal of U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder’s August 8 ruling denying a stay of the new law, pending the 2014 elections.
In August Winston-Salem U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder rejected North Carolina’s request to avoid a full trial over the state’s sweeping voter suppression law. He also denied a motion by the plaintiffs to stay the law until a trial can be held in the summer of 2015 writing that the groups failed to show they would suffer “irreparable harm.” This means that during the preliminary hearings the plaintiffs did not show that holding the 2014 mid-term with the new provisions (which do not include Voter ID provisions or the elimination of much early voting, including Sunday) will not cause harm to any cultural group or political party that cannot be reversed in the 2016 cycle.
In his ruling, Judge Schroeder wrote:
“Plaintiff’ complaints state plausible claims upon while relief can be granted and should be permitted to proceed in the litigation. However, a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy to be granted in this circuit only upon a “clearshowing” of entitlement.
“As to the remaining provisions, the court finds that even assuming Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits, they have not demonstrated they are likely to suffer irreparable harm- a necessary prerequisite for preliminary relief – before the trial and in the absence of an injunction.
“If this law is found unconstitutional, North Carolinians whose voting rights were violated in the midterm election will have lost a critical opportunity to participate in our democratic process,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “While we had hoped the court would recognize this irreparable harm, the ultimate goal is to see these discriminatory measures struck down. We look forward to making our case at full trial, which is something the state had sought to avoid.”
“In the absence of the clear showing for preliminary relief required by the law, it is inappropriate for a federal court to enjoin a state law passed by duly-elected representatives,” wrote Judge Schroeder, who was appointed to the federal bench by Republican President George W. Bush.