Republicans who keep losing court cases blame judges and the court system instead of looking at the legislation they’re passing. The latest loss came yesterday when a federal judge reinstated primaries for Supreme Court and Court of Appeals cases. It wasn’t a complete loss because the court did keep intact their suspension of primaries for Superior and District Court. Still, Republicans cried foul.
What Republicans call partisanship, others call checks and balances. In the case of gerrymandering, it’s the courts who have been remarkably consistent. They’ve ruled against the legislature for more than 20 years, causing our system to be the most chaotic in the country.
Back in 1998, Republicans sued the state over Congressional districts and judges sided with the GOP, forcing the legislature to draw new districts. To comply, the state separated out Congressional primaries and held them in the middle of July instead of the first Tuesday in May. In 2002, Republicans contested the legislative districts and the legislature ran under court-drawn districts with a primary held in mid-September. In 2004, GOP-instigated court cases forced the primary to be moved to July again.
In combatting gerrymandering, the courts have been consistent, while the GOP has not. Sen. Jeff Jackson introduced legislation that would allow an independent redistricting commission. Republicans immediately howled. The proposal would create a commission of five Democrats and four Republicans. Republicans called the proposal a fraud. Then they learned it was a copy of the independent redistricting proposal sponsored by senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore a decade or so ago. Back then, Democrats rejected the proposal.
Republicans have also lost cases that would redraw municipal districts to favor Republicans and they lost the case defending their voter suppression plan. Nobody was fooled. The goal of these bills was to rig the system to favor the GOP. Even Republicans like GOP consultant Carter Wrenn admitted that. Given our state’s history of using various means of disenfranchisement to consolidate power and deny a political voice for minorities, it’s not very surprising that the courts would stand with the people over the politicians.
Since the courts have stood in the way of Republican plans to game the system, the GOP is now trying to rig the courts. It’s more than just an attack on the courts. It’s an assault on the separation of powers and the checks and balances that are part of the foundation of our government.
Democrats are certainly not blameless in all these shenanigans since they didn’t fix gerrymandering while they had power, but they aren’t in control anymore. In trying to rig the system, Republicans have made a mess of it. They’ve shown little respect or regard for the voters or our democracy. It’s no way to run a government. They’ve really got no one to blame but themselves.
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 >