The Pulse

NC Republicans want Supreme Court opinions that went against them tossed

By: - January 20, 2023 5:09 pm

North Carolina Republican legislators have asked the state Supreme Court to throw out last year’s opinions on voter ID and redistricting and grant new hearings.

Court rulings striking down a voter ID law as racially discriminatory and redistricting plans as partisan gerrymanders were written and approved by a four-member Democratic majority on the seven-member Supreme Court. Republicans now have a 5-2 majority on the court.

House Speaker Tim Moore posted the court filings on his website Friday.

As a result of the Supreme Court orders, the legislature had to redraw state House, state Senate and congressional district maps last year. The Democratic majority on the court said the maps were partisan gerrymanders that violated the state constitution.

The congressional map used in the 2022 election was drawn by redistricting experts with oversight by three Superior Court judges.

A December Supreme Court opinion said the replacement Senate map was also unlawful. The legislature was ordered to redraw it.

Republicans maintain that matters of partisan redistricting are beyond the purview of state courts. In the Supreme Court petition, they asked the court to rehear the question whether the Senate plan is unconstitutional and to overrule the redistricting decision from last February.

The petition calls last year’s redistricting decisions “unfounded judicial interference.”

In an email, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which represented Common Cause NC in the redistricting case, said Common Cause opposes a rehearing, and that applicable court rules don’t automatically grant it.

“Self-serving politicians are desperately trying to undermine the state Supreme Court’s landmark ruling against discriminatory gerrymandering. Partisan legislators want to claw power away from the people of North Carolina and go back to illegally manipulating our voting districts,” Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina, said in a statement.

In the voter ID case, the Democratic majority on the court upheld a lower court ruling that a 2018 voter ID law was “motivated by a racially discriminatory purpose.”

In the petition to rehear that case, Republicans said that the legislature passed the law after voters approved a constitutional amendment for voter ID and that the law was written without discriminatory intent.

“The people of North Carolina sent a message election day. They clearly rejected the judicial activism of the outgoing majority. I am committed to fighting for the rule of law and will of the voters. It’s time for voter ID to be law, as the people of North Carolina have demanded,” Moore said in a statement on his website.

The legal team that brought the voter ID case opposes a rehearing, the email from the Southern Coalition said.

“This petition is another example of legislative leadership stopping at nothing to infringe on the right of African Americans to vote freely in North Carolina,” Jeff Loperfido, interim chief counsel of Voting Rights at the Southern Coalition, said in a statement. “We’re disappointed that lawmakers would choose to waste time rehashing arguments that were rejected by the Court mere weeks ago rather than doing the work of passing a voter photo ID that passes constitutional muster.” 


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Lynn Bonner
Lynn Bonner

Investigative Reporter Lynn Bonner covers the state legislature and politics, as well as elections, the state budget, public and mental health, safety net programs and issues of racial equality.