GOP Wins Big in North Carolina

( – The Republican Party has scored a judicial victory on election legislation after North Carolina’s Supreme Court issued rulings that the state’s legislature should handle election law.

The development, in which the North Carolina Supreme Court released opinions in three cases, handed “Republicans a victory prior to the 2024 election cycle,” The National Review comments.

The rulings became possible after, earlier this year, the state’s highest court was flipped from a liberal to a conservative majority with the addition of two new justices.

In February, the court reopened cases on voter identification, gerrymandering, and felons’ voting rights, which had been decided during its previous session in December.

The two Democrat justices protested the decision on the panel and insisted that rehearing settled cases had occurred “exceedingly rare(ly)” in the court’s more than 200 years of history.

One of the three cases in question, Harper v. Hall, is about redistricting. It will allow the state GOP to alter the congressional map ahead of the 2024 election after the 2022 midterms saw North Carolina send to the US Congress an evenly split delegation of seven Republicans and seven Democrats.

“There is no judicially manageable standard by which to adjudicate partisan gerrymandering claims. Moreover, courts are not intended to meddle in policy matters,” wrote Chief Justice Paul Newby, who signed the ruling on behalf of the five conservative justices on the panel.

“In its decision today, the Court returns to its tradition of honoring the constitutional roles assigned to each branch. The people have the authority to alter their foundational document, not this Court. The people alone have the final say,” Newby added.

The two liberal justices, Anita Earls and Justice Michael Morgan, protested, arguing that “the majority strips millions of voters of this state of their fundamental, constitutional rights and delivers on the threat that ‘our decisions are fleeting, and our precedent is only as enduring as the terms of the justices who sit on the bench.'”

The second of the three cases decided with a 5-2 majority, Holmes v. Moore, refers to voter identification. The opponents of the state’s voter identification law argued that it “was enacted with discriminatory intent or that it produced a meaningfully disparate impact along racial lines.” In December, the previous liberal majority had nixed the law.

“The people of North Carolina overwhelmingly support voter identification and other efforts to promote greater integrity and confidence in our elections. Subjective tests and judicial sleight of hand have systematically thwarted the will of the people and the intent of the legislature. But no court exists for the vindication of political interests, and judges exceed constitutional boundaries when they act as a super-legislature,” wrote Justice Phil Berger Jr.

“We recommit to that fundamental principle and begin the process of returning the judiciary to its rightful place as ‘the least dangerous’ branch,” he added.

The third case revised by the North Carolina Supreme Court referred to the voting rights of convicted felons.

The conservative majority overruled a lower court’s decision to restore felons’ voting rights.

“It is not unconstitutional to insist that felons pay their debt to society as a condition of participating in the electoral process,” wrote Justice Trey Allen on behalf of the conservative majority.