Monday, February 6, 2023

NC Supreme Court To Rehear Election Cases

A recently flipped State Supreme Court, could have substantial implications on Voter ID Rules and Redistricting in North Carolina.

Republicans earned a 5-2 Majority on the Court in the November, 2022 Election, after Republicans Richard Dietz and Trey Allen, Defeated Democrats Lucy Inman and Sam Ervin IV, respectively. Prior to the New Justices beginning their Term, and when Democrats still had a 4-3 Majority, the Court ruled that Republican Lawmakers Unconstitutionally discriminated against Black Voters by passing a Law that requires Voter ID in 2018.

The Court at that time also ruled, that Republican Lawmakers Gerrymandered its Districts against Democrats, and needed to Redraw its State Senate lines. The Congressional Map, which was drawn by Trial Judges because the Map drawn by Republican Lawmakers was Gerrymandered, was upheld in that Ruling.

Legislators are set to Redraw the Congressional Districts ahead of 2024.

The U.S. Supreme Court has taken up Moore v. Harper, which stems from the North Caroline State House Speaker, Timothy Moore (R-111th District), Challenging the State Supreme Court’s Decisio,n to throw out the Legislature’s Congressional Map.

Republican Legislators argued that the State Court, had extremely Limited Authority to Police the Legislature on Federal Election matters, a Theory known as the “Independent State Legislature” Theory. The U.S. Supreme Court seemed poised to Reject, a robust reading of that Theory during its December, 2022, Hearing of the Case, and a Decision is expected by June, 2023.

But those same Republican Leaders, the Ones who said that there’s Little to No room for State Courts to Review Election Laws, turned back to the State Court to Review those Laws.

Republican Legislative Leaders last month, asked the Court to Revisit the Voter ID and Redistricting Cases. Moore at the time said that following the November 2022 Election, Voters “clearly rejected the judicial activism of the outgoing majority.”

On Friday, the State Supreme Court Voted along Party Lines to rehear the Cases on March 14th. The decision to Rehear the Case on such a quick Time frame “raises the question whether the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Moore v. Harper could become moot.”

Democratic Associate Justice Anita Earls, wrote in her Dissent, that Rehearings are Reserved for “rare occasions when the Court was initially unaware of material evidence already in the record or makes an obvious and indisputable error.” The Facts of the Case are the same, she argued, the only Change has been the Majority composition of the Court. “Not only does today’s display of raw partisanship call into question the impartiality of the courts, but it erodes the notion that the judicial branch has the institutional capacity to be a principled check on legislation that violates constitutional and human rights,” she wrote.

Democrats have been trying to Reform Redistricting in the State, by proposing an Independent Commission, rather than having the Legislature control the Process. The latest push, the Fair Maps Act, would place the Question to Voters as a Constitutional Amendment. But given the Republican Majority, it’s unlikely it will make it on the Ballot.

“It’s just unfortunate, because we’re going to be locked into gerrymandered maps again, and it’s hard to overcome those,” said State Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-61st District), One of the sponsors of the Fair Maps Act. “I think this is a signal that no decision that’s been reached by a North Carolina Supreme Court is going to be looked at as precedent if the current makeup of the court disagrees with the decision for whatever reason.”

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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