Off again

by | Dec 9, 2021 | Editor's Blog | 4 comments

The filing date is off again. Late yesterday afternoon, the Supreme Court of North Carolina ordered primaries delayed pending review of the case against the districts. The primaries will be held on May 17 and filings have been frozen, but anyone who has already filed will not be required to file again. 

Republicans drew the districts on a tight timeline after census data was delayed until late summer. They could have drawn districts that would have avoided a court challenge or they could have pushed back the election schedule to accommodate the impending court cases instead of keeping a March primary date. Traditionally, primaries in North Carolina have been held in May, but Republicans moved them to March in presidential years so the state would have influence over presidential nominees. 

The legislature was trying to condense the process to just four months from maps to primaries in hopes that the courts would let the districts stand for this year, ruling that there’s not enough time to hear the case before the election. Republicans have learned that they can get a lot of unpopular bills through the legislature under unconstitutional maps. The Supreme Court didn’t play along. 

Conservatives, of course, are crying foul, blaming the courts for playing politics. Republican Senator Ralph Hise responded to the ruling by saying, “The Democrats on the Supreme Court want districts that elect more Democrats, so they’re blocking every election in the state until they get their way.” But Hise and his ilk are wrong. Republicans sued because of redistricting maps throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Primaries were halted or moved in 1998, 2002, and 2004 because of GOP lawsuits. From 2004 until 2010, the legislature ran under maps approved by a judge, not the legislature. Republicans had no problems with those lawsuits or those rulings. I am happy to tell you that hypocrisy is alive and well in the GOP. 

There’s a difference, though, between the lawsuits then and the lawsuits today. Back then, Democratic judges were usually the ones ruling against maps drawn by Democrats. Those judges were more interested in protecting democracy than protecting political advantage. So far, no Republican judges seem willing to buck the legislative branch and put a check on an attempted power grab by the leadership of the General Assembly. 

The only things consistent in our redistricting process are the Democratic judges who have stood up to unconstitutional maps and legislative overreach. It would be good to see some Republican judges follow suit. 


  1. cocodog

    I was reading a piece that indicated Trump was highly displeased with the judges that recently failed to decide in his favor. In his crime boss mind, he has good reason to be, he was instrumental in getting them appointed to the bench. Unfortunately, Trump’s legal education stopped at the fifth-grade civics class. He does not comprehend, that judges in the lower courts are loyal to the law, not some want a be crime boss. He may be in for a bigger surprise when the supreme court refuses to hear his appeal.

  2. cocodog

    I may be misreading Mill’s piece, but I am at loss to comprehend where Phoenix’s comment turnabout “is fair play” has any bearing on the issue of preserving democracy and makes no sense. In North Carolina where politicians are allowed to pick their voters, rather than the voters picking the politician, the challenge to democracy is obvious.
    Moreover, it is a threat to the very foundation of our country. If Phoenix’s opinions represent a plethora of Republican views, this country is in grave danger of losing what so many fought and died for over the years. Our democracy according to an article in the New York Times is now ranked below that of the last three countries we defeated in war to preserve it. Germany, Japan, and Italy have recently been rated higher in applying the principles of democracy than the United States.
    We did not invent Democracy, but we have done a dammed good job of keeping it viable longer that any nation on earth. Why not devote our efforts to improving it, not stopping at keeping it viable? If a freshman politician ran on the principle, he or she would vote to set term limits, thereby removing opportunity for any long-term corruption that would be a beginning. I don’t think this notion would be too far removed from the philosophy of the drafters of the constitution who political service has a lot in common with Jury Duty. It is not a full-time job, but a responsibility every citizen should perform.

  3. phoenix

    Turn about is fair play. And “Sue till your blue” is not a good policy.

    • Kayman

      Well neither will “gerrymander until it’s red” won’t work either.

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