AP Fails to Mention DOJ's Involvement As Judge Allows North Carolina Voter-ID Law to Stand

To read the Associated Press's Friday evening coverage of a federal judge's refusal to block North Carolina's election law reforms from taking effect in the upcoming general election, you'd think it was an unsuccessful effort on the part of a group of poor Davids to defeat the Tar Heel State's government Goliath.

As J. Christian Adams at PJ Media noted shortly after the decision, it was nothing of the sort. Attorney General Eric Holder's Department of Justice weighed in heavily, and is in fact listed as the plaintiff in one of the three cases Federal District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder decided. Additionally, a prominent national law firm took the case on a pro bono basis for the allegedly aggrieved groups. I'll first look at a bit of what AP's Michael Biesecker and Gary D. Robertson wrote, and follow it with Adams's reality-based rendition.


First, here's AP (bolds are mine throughout this post):

JUDGE: NC VOTE CAN BE HELD WITH GOP-BACKED CHANGES

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North Carolina's November election can be held under a new voting law approved by Republican lawmakers, a federal judge ruled Friday. The law is considered one of the toughest in the nation and the groups challenging it say it will suppress minority voter turnout.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder denied a motion seeking to hold the November vote under old rules, saying the groups failed to show they would suffer "irreparable harm."

"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 the judge, who was appointed to the federal bench by Republican President George W. Bush.

A coalition of groups, including the League of Women Voters and the state NAACP, have filed three lawsuits challenging many changes to voting laws approved by the GOP-controlled state legislature in 2013.

In a PJ Tatler entry posted over an hour before the current time stamp (3:36 PT vs. 7:57 ET) seen at the AP's pity party, Adams noted that The "coalition of groups" was backed by the DOJ and a major DC heavy-hitter law firm (italics are his; link is in original):

... A federal court today smacked down the Holder Justice Department and refused to enjoin (block) North Carolina’s voter ID law, curtailment of costly early voting and end of fraud-infested same day registration. This means the state’s voter ID law will be in place for the midterm congressional (and Senate) elections in November.

The Justice Department had actually argued that even if black voters turned out at higher rates under voter ID (which they do), because blacks have to take the bus more and their life is generally harder, then voter ID and curtailing early voting violates the Voting Rights Act.

... the opinion ... lays waste to the theories of those opposing North Carolina’s election integrity laws, including the Justice Department.

The Justice Department actually used your tax dollars to pay for an expert to introduce the turnout-doesn’t-matter-because-life-is-harder argument.

... Hans von Spakovsky, former DOJ voting official, says it is going to be a very bad weekend for lawyers at the Justice Department Voting Section. “Eric Holder has been beaten now twice in the Carolinas on voter ID. Today’s ruling shows just how wrong he is when it comes to election law.”

Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch says, “It is an embarrassing defeat for the Holder Justice Department. The court’s decision eviscerates Eric Holder’s politicized and racially inflammatory legal assault on commonsense election integrity measures. The court expressly rejected the Department of Justice’s contention that minorities are harmed by commonsense measures that help secure honest elections. The court’s dramatic rejection of Holder’s legal theory shows that that the DOJ’s lawsuit, which was coordinated with political activists at the White House, was always more about cynical political and racial appeals than upholding the law.”

Big losers today also include Kirkland and Ellis, the firm representing Shirley Sherrod in the lawsuit against Andrew Breitbart’s widow. Kirkland was representing intervening plaintiffs pro bono in trying to shut down North Carolina voter ID.

Now why would AP reporters Biesecker and Robertson, who simply had to know better, completely omit the federal government's aggressive attempt with accompanying pro bono help to overturn the law? It's unfortunately not unreasonable to assert that they're more interested in promoting "cynical political and racial appeals" in their reporting and deflecting as much embarrassment as possible from Dear Leader's administration than they are in telling us what really happened.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.