On Friday, the North Carolina Supreme Court struck down the state's voter ID law with a partisan ruling during a lame duck session. The Carolina Journal explained:
Two weeks before they’re set to lose their majority, N.C. Supreme Court Democrats issued rulings Friday striking down the state’s photo voter identification law and the election map used for state Senate races.Read more
I'll be following today's oral argument in #MooreVHarper and will do tweet thread here. For overview of issues, see my three posts: https://t.co/7dW0ukyXO9https://t.co/ln1GLw7LGjhttps://t.co/H9vISnCSBX— Ed Whelan (@EdWhelanEPPC) December 7, 2022
One of the biggest wins for Republicans on Election Day was gaining the majority on the North Carolina Supreme Court (North Carolina elects its state supreme court justices in partisan races.):
[T]he biggest and longest-lasting impacts of Tuesday’s elections will be felt at the state Supreme Court, where Republicans flipped two Democratic-held seats to earn a 5-2 majority that will last until at least 2028.
State lawmakers and U.S. House members elected Tuesday will have to face voters two more times before Democrats even get a chance to retake the state’s highest court. In that time, conservative justices will have a chance to weigh in on a multitude of issues, including redistricting, voting rights, the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches and social issues, including, potentially, abortion rights.Read more
A coalition of national and local Republican parties represented by attorney Phil Strach has successfully blocked one of the North Carolina State Board of Elections' ("NCSBE") latest attempts at unlawful rulemaking. (The complaint in Deas v. NCSBE can be found here). NCSBE had interpreted its rules to restrict the coming and going of at-large election observers, stating that, if an at-large observer stayed less than four hours at a particular site, their political party could not send another person to replace them. On Thursday, Wake County Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier decided that the rules governing election place observers should be relaxed.
There are two kinds of election observers in North Carolina: those who must stay at one polling place and at large-observers who can move among polling places. Political parties have long been allowed to send observers to watch voters and election administrators at polling locations to ensure that the electoral process is followed appropriately. NCSBE's guidance would have unfairly impacted election integrity operations since it would have prevented the substitution of regular observers with party lawyers, who could then investigate any irregularities witnessed by non-lawyer observers. As Strach observed: "We wouldn't be able to replace the layperson observer with the lawyer observer .... We would just be screwed."Read more
Last week, the North Carolina Supreme Court blatantly ignored the will of voters to hand down an unprecedented decision that opens the door for two state constitutional amendments to potentially be struck down. The court did this by arguing that because many of the legislators that referred the amendments to the ballot were elected from maps that were adjudicated gerrymandered, the amendments were likely invalid. Never mind the fact that a majority of North Carolina voters statewide voted to approve the amendments. RedState reported:
In what can only be described as a full-scale judicial coup, the Democrat-controlled body has ruled that the North Carolina General Assembly is illegitimate and can not enact amendments to the state’s constitution. Their reasoning? That the state’s legislature is “gerrymandered.”Read more
State supreme court elections often fall under the radar, but issues like redistricting and the overturning of Roe v. Wade are raising their profile as we approach the 2022 midterm elections. As Politico explained:
Thirty states have or will hold state Supreme Court elections this year, in a combination of traditional elections or a retention vote — an up-or-down vote to decide if a judge should stay on the bench. And some of the biggest state Supreme Court contests this year map alongside traditional battlegrounds, like Michigan and North Carolina, while others creep into redder or bluer territory. . .Read more
The past week has been a busy one for redistricting. Unsurprisingly, most of the scrutiny has been on Republican-drawn districts. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order reinstating Alabama's congressional map that a lower court struck down.
Alabama's new congressional map is a status quo map based on the previous one precleared by Eric Holder’s Justice Department 10 years ago. The Supreme Court rightly stayed the lower court's egregious misapplication of Section 2. https://t.co/JopP8piI0c— National Republican Redistricting PAC (@GOPRedistrict) February 7, 2022
The continued efforts by liberals and Democrats to intimidate and politicize the courts has reached a new low. In an unprecedented move, the NAACP is seeking to force the recusal of two North Carolina Supreme Court justices from a case concerning the state's voter ID law. The Carolina Journal explains:
The NAACP seeks to formally remove two GOP Supreme Court justices from a critical constitutional amendments case. Its attorneys presented a detailed argument to the Supreme Court on why the court as a whole should disqualify the two justices, an action never before taken in North Carolina, because of alleged conflicts of interest.Read more
On Monday, a trial began before the North Carolina Superior Court to determine whether a 2018 law to implement North Carolina's voter ID amendment is constitutional. Emory University professor Carol Anderson was called to testify to the link between the law and racially biased voting restrictions of the past. The only problem? She hadn't read the law being challenged before writing a report about it and didn't even know who sponsored the bill that enacted the law.Read more