The Supreme Court on Monday opted not to hear a challenge to Wisconsin's voter identification law, effectively allowing the measure to stand.
The justices declined to hear an appeal filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the law. The ACLU said it then filed an emergency motion with a federal appeals court to try to keep the law from taking effect immediately.
Republican Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said the law cannot be implemented for the state's April 7 election because absentee ballots are already in the hands of voters but would be in place for future elections. "This decision is final," Schimel said.
In October, the high court temporarily blocked the Wisconsin law. It did not explain its reasoning, but it was most likely because the statute was being implemented so close to the November election, which could have caused confusion and disruption.
While the law will go into effect, the Court did not rule on the measure's merits. Instead, the Court merely declined to reconsider the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling that the law, signed by GOP Gov. Scott Walker, was constitutional.
The state's law was part of a rash of new voting restrictions enacted in the aftermath of the Tea Party's 2010 electoral wave. According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, 22 states have passed measures making it harder to vote since that year, when Walker was first elected.
Ostensibly designed to combat voter fraud -- which occurs at a rate of 31 in a billion -- laws requiring voters to present photo identification disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters, research has found.