Only themselves to blame

by | Feb 1, 2018 | 2018 elections, Editor's Blog, Redistricting | 3 comments

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.


  1. Norma Munn

    Gerrymandering, voter suppression, abridging judicial powers – the only anti-democratic action not yet undertaken (as far as I know) by the GOP legislative members here in NC is muzzling the press. One has to wonder what fears drive a political party to work so hard at disenfranchising voters and now making equally strenuous efforts to undermine the independence of our state judicial system? Their efforts are non-stop and expensive with the tax payer footing the bills. Are they that afraid of competing on an even playing field? Or is it possible that there are skeletons in the closet from the past few years that would come to light if they lost their strangle hold on the legislature? Just asking.

  2. Feedupvoteri

    Who was the party that had the snake district from Greensboro to Charlotte? I am a independent, I am sick of both parties. .

  3. Jay Ligon

    Our government was designed from the outset to be a limited government where the powers of government are checked by three branches – Executive, Legislative and Judicial.

    James Madison and the founders were suspicious of concentration powers in the whimsical hands of kings. Madison believed that ambition is a fact of life. Each branch of government would seek to expand its power beyond its constitutional authority. Our three branches have overlapping power and the ability to check the power of each other. The conflict between branches is not a flaw but a feature of our constitution.

    We have seen what North Carolina Republicans will do when they have control of the Executive and Legislative branches. The government ran roughshod over voters who disagreed with the right wing,

    The legislature attempted to create its Republican majority in perpetuity through voter suppression and gerrymandering. Voter suppression was accomplished through unconstitutional and racist laws and districts were drawn to preserve the Republican dominance in the legislature. The only rub for Republicans was our Judiciary. When the legislature overreached, the courts acted to limit the legislature’s overreach by striking down racist laws and unconstitutional districts. That was our Republic in action.

    Now the legislature is seeking to undo the power of the Judiciary so that it can eliminate the checks and balances by recreating the architecture of our government. The Legislature wants to take over the Judicial branch. That it cannot do in America.

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