State Supreme Court Reaches Voting Map Decision

In a 5-2 decision last Friday, the Republican majority on the North Carolina Supreme Court overturned the previous Democrat-controlled state Supreme Court ruling disallowing partisan gerrymandering in state congressional maps, clearing the way for North Carolina Republicans to redraw the state’s congressional districts heavily favoring the GOP, the Washington Examiner reported.

In its 218-page ruling, the Republican Justices on the Court held that there is no “manageable standard” for the judiciary to “adjudicate partisan gerrymandering claims,” and maintained that courts should not “meddle in policy matters.”

The ruling, written by Republican Chief Justice Paul Newby, held that the case is about “realigning” the judicial and legislative branches to their proper roles and not “partisan politics.” He wrote that with this ruling, the Court is beginning a course correction that will return “the judiciary to its designated lane.”

The ruling was opposed by the two Democrats on the state Supreme Court.

In the dissent written by Democrat Justice Anita Earls, the two Democrat justices decried the ruling, calling it a “betrayal to the democratic values” of the state’s constitution and argued that the majority Republican Court’s decision “will not stand forever.”

The ruling also overturned a previous decision that blocked a North Carolina law requiring a photo ID to vote. The state Supreme Court’s previous Democrat majority rejected the law arguing that it discriminated against racial minorities.

After the former Democrat majority state Supreme Court struck down the legislature’s congressional map, the US Supreme Court agreed to take up the case on appeal. But now that the new Republican majority Court has overturned the previous Court’s decision, it is likely the US Supreme Court will dismiss the appeal without reaching a decision.

Last Friday’s state Supreme Court’s decision is a blow to North Carolina Democrats who now stand to lose as many as four congressional seats in the district map drawn by North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature.