State Supreme Court Overrules Itself and Hands a Big Win to Voters
The North Carolina Supreme Court had a busy Friday as the highest court in the Tar Heel State overruled… itself?
Indeed, the court threw out some of its previous decisions and, as WNCN-TV reported, the three key rulings it issued Friday are all being described as “wins for the GOP.”
The decisions uphold Republican redistricting, reinstate voter ID and prevent some felons from voting.
North Carolina’s previous Supreme Court, which had a Democratic majority, had blocked redrawn district lines presented by the GOP, claiming they were too partisan.
Following the 2022 midterms, the majority flipped to Republicans, and the new court found its predecessor’s ruling lacking.
Chief Justice Paul Newby said the court had overstepped the bounds of its authority to rule on alleged gerrymandering.
“The will of the people is achieved when each branch of government performs its assigned duties,” Newby wrote in an opinion. “When, however, one branch grasps a task of another, that action violates separation of powers.”
Later in the opinion, Newby noted, “Our constitution expressly assigns the redistricting authority to the General Assembly subject to explicit limitations in the text. Those limitations do not address partisan gerrymandering.”
“Policy decisions belong to the legislative branch, not the judiciary,” he added.
Ultimately, Newby viewed the decision as reining in judicial overreach and ensuring the branches of government operate as intended.
“This case is not about partisan politics but rather about realigning the proper roles of the judicial and legislative branches,” Newby wrote. “Today we begin to correct course, returning the judiciary to its designated lane.”
The court also restored a voter ID law that it had struck down in December and ended voting rights for felons who are on probation or parole.
Opponents of the voter ID law have branded it as racist. Its return will be welcomed by advocates of election integrity and security.
Voting laws have been a red-hot issue since 2020, when former President Donald Trump claimed he was cheated out of a general election win against President Joe Biden.
With the 2024 elections looming, the fight over election integrity measures is only going to heat up.
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