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
Last week, a 4th Circuit panel reversed a District Court decision that struck down North Carolina's voter ID law. The law requires voters to present a valid photo ID to vote in-person or by absentee ballot. As reported by the Washington Post:
The 4th Circuit’s ruling reverses a district court decision that said North Carolina’s 2018 photo ID law would probably have a disproportionate effect on African American voters in the state. The identification requirement had been blocked by federal and state judges, and it did not apply in the November election in which Trump won North Carolina.
North Carolina kicked off the General Election cycle on Friday by sending out mail ballots to the already 634,000 voters and counting who have elected to vote by mail this November. Over the next two months, North Carolinians will again play a pivotal roll in determining who will be President for the next four years.Read more
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and state and local governments take different approaches in responding it, an increasing number of cases have been filed against alleged government overreach. At first they were largely First Amendment cases, as we have previously covered (5/5, 4/22, 4/16, 4/13, 4/9, and 3/27), but now litigation is pending on nearly every government action in response to the pandemic, including challenges to governors' entire executive orders.
Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Governor Tony Evers' "safer-at-home" order. RNLA member Jake Curtis analyzed the decision, which was made on state separation of powers grounds:Read more
According to Politico, citing a sweeping survey by the Knight Foundation, “voter suppression” is a myth. While Politico does not put it exactly that way, here is a key paragraph that makes that point:
Democratic campaign committees and activist groups have been spending millions of dollars to fight against a range of legal obstacles on voting, believing that making voter registration easier and keeping polls open longer would inspire more Americans to turn out.
But to nonvoters themselves, those issues don’t seem to be at the forefront of their minds . . .
Structural issues such as voter ID laws and difficulty accessing polling places didn’t come up enough to even be marked in the Knight survey results.Read more
Supreme Court Declares Partisan Gerrymandering Cases Nonjusticiable; Issues Confusing Opinion in Census Case
The Supreme Court issued two opinions with direct implications for redistricting this morning, on the last day of the October 2018 Term. In a consolidated opinion for Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek, the Court held that "partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts." In Department of Commerce v. New York, the Court remanded the "census" case to the district court for further proceedings consistent with its rather confusing opinion that held both that it would be permissible for the the Department of Commerce to ask a question regarding citizenship on the census and that the Department did not provide an accurate reason for the question's inclusion.Read more