WASHINGTON — Civil and voting rights groups have decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court a federal ruling upholding South Carolina’s voter ID law, saying a challenge is unnecessary because the decision this week neuters the original law and cements voter protections.
The decision by the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, the League of Women Voters and other key groups could signal that Wednesday’s ruling by a three-judge panel will not be appealed to the high court by the Justice Department, which worked closely with the groups during a federal trial that ended last month.
In the ruling, the judges overturned Attorney General Eric Holder’s rejection of the law but warned state officials that it must be implemented leniently to allow voters without required photo IDs to cast ballots. They also said the law can’t be used in next month’s elections.
“We are quite pleased with this decision and currently have no intention of appealing it,” said Garrard Beeney, lead lawyer for the outside groups. “South Carolina now has a photo ID law which allows anyone without a photo ID to vote in the same way they have in the past by simply stating the reason they did not get their photo ID.”
Spokeswoman Dena Iverson said the Justice Department has not decided whether to appeal the ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia.
Under the Voting Rights Act, all appeals of district court rulings bypass the federal appellate courts and go directly to the Supreme Court.