The silliest people on twitter yesterday were the Republicans trying to spin the Supreme Court’s declaration that North Carolina’s legislative districts are racially gerrymandered. They focused instead on the Court’s decision to send the remedy part, a special election in 2017, back to the lower court for more justification. NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse tweeted, “SCOTUS offers brutal take-down and rebuke of 4th Circuit’s call for special elections.” Conservative bloggers at American Lens wrote, “SCOTUS Strikes Down 2017 Special Election Ruling.”
That’s like watching your opponent score a winning touchdown with one second left and getting excited about the five-yard penalty at the kickoff for excessive celebration. The case was about racial discrimination in gerrymandering. The court upheld the lower court’s ruling and we’ll definitely see new districts. The only question is whether we vote in them this year or next. The Republicans who drew the districts lost. Period.
We probably won’t see elections this year given the late time frame, but as the N&O wrote, there’s little doubt about the damage that Republicans have done or harm that they’ve caused by having veto proof majorities as a result of the illegal districts. The GOP legislature has been rebuked time and again for passing unconstitutional laws that discriminate against North Carolina citizens. All of their gerrymandering schemes have been thrown out and their voter suppression law was struck down for unfairly targeting African-American voters. Their attempt to rig the state Supreme Court by using retention elections was also rejected by the courts. That doesn’t even take into account other legislation that’s currently in the court system, like the magistrate discrimination act or House Bill 2 that caused the state so much national embarrassment. At least one former judge I spoke with questioned whether any bills passed by bodies considered unconstitutional would stand up in court.
So, the Supreme Court has agreed that districts in North Carolina are unconstitutional and need to be redrawn. The harm to the people of this state because of those gerrymanders is plain to see. Unfortunately, because of the short time frame, we probably won’t have new elections this year but we will certainly have new districts in 2018. Still, the legislators who are running the state right now are illegals.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >