RALEIGH – In the last several years there have been several cases of blatant judicial activism when it comes to court battles between the Republican legislature and activists on the Left. Friday, though, may be the most egregious case of judicial activism yet.
Wake County Superior Court Judge G. Bryan Collins issued an opinion late Friday that the Voter I.D. and Cap on State Income Tax Constitutional Amendments were invalid because, “An illegally constituted General Assembly does not represent the people of North Carolina and is therefore not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s constitution.”
That was the crux of the argument by plaintiffs NAACP of N.C. and Clean Air Carolina (CAC); because some of the legislature’s district maps were ruled unconstitutional gerrymanders they have ‘no right’ to place these amendment proposals on the ballot. In fact, the premise, if accepted as it was by this radical judge, would invalidate ALL ACTIONS of the state legislature for the last year and a half!
To call this absurd would be a drastic understatement. Republican legislative leaders were understandably incensed by the activist judge’s ruling.
Republican N.C. House Majority Leader Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne) said, “Here we go again, another liberal activist judge trying to stop the will of the people. Voters overwhelmingly supported the Voter ID amendment and the liberal judges will stop at nothing to silence the people and push their radical agenda from the bench.”
N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said, “We will fight for North Carolinians’ voice in support of voter ID and a lower income tax cap. The people have spoken and this outrageous attempt to invalidate their decisions will be appealed.”
President pro tem of the N.C. Senate Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said in a statement, “We are duty-bound to appeal this absurd decision. The prospect of invalidating 18 months of laws is the definition of chaos and confusion. Based on tonight’s opinion and others over the past several years, it appears the idea of judicial restraint has completely left the state of North Carolina.”
Beyond the glaring judicial overreach in invalidating two Constitutional Amendments passed by a majority of THE PEOPLE of North Carolina, the ‘Findings of Fact’ read like diary entries of a Social Justice Warrior.
On the Voter ID amendment, and related to the NAACP, Judge Collins writes (as a finding of FACT!), “Members will be effectively denied the right to vote, or otherwise be deprived of meaningful access to the political process as a result of the proposed Voter ID requirement. The proposed Voter ID requirement will impose costs and substantial and undue burdens on the right to vote for those and other members.”
The bill implementing Voter ID requirements, after THE PEOPLE approved the amendment, was a bipartisan bill, sponsored by African-American lawmakers, and exhaustive in its inclusion of forms of ID and special allowances as to not make it restrictive. The contention of the NAACP and Judge Collins that it demonstrably discriminates against minorities is laughably false.
On the State Income Tax Cap amendment, and related to the NAACP, Judge Collins writes (as a finding of Fact!) that it will hurt the NAACP because, “places a flat, artificial limit on income taxes, it prohibits the state from establishing graduated tax rates on higher-income taxpayers and, overtime, will act as a tax cut only for the wealthy. This tends to favor white households and disadvantage people of color, reinforcing the accumulation of wealth for white taxpayers and undermining the financing of public structures that have the potential to benefit non-wealthy people, including people of color and the poor.”
Is your head exploding yet? There’s a lot more.
Judge Collins holds that the validity of the General Assembly’s actions are is a ‘justiceable’ question, and not a political one. Read those finding of facts again and then consider whether or not this is a very, very political question.
The excuse Judge Collins uses to claim this is not political rests on the fact that other activists judges already ruled against the gerrymanders. Therefore, he’s just extrapolating with this ruling. However, no jurists can seriously consider the redistricting issue to be settled in any meaningful way. To act otherwise is to insult the intelligence of any observer to litigation over the last few years.
Further, Judge Collins argues that because the maps, deemed unconstitutional gerrymanders by a activist federal judicial panel, “interfered with the very mechanism by which the people confer their sovereignty on the General Assembly,” the amendments should be void.
How in the world is the people’s sovereignty violated when THEY VOTED FOR THE AMENDMENTS DIRECTLY?! The entire premise of Collin’s ruling uses gerrymanders to justify the invalidation of statewide popular votes on Constitutional Amendments.
It is official: The patients have officially taken over the asylum.
Democrats are gleeful, and probably themselves surprised that a judge was willing to work this hard torturing reason and logic to advance their agenda from the bench.
Retired N.C. Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jackson, though, wasn’t buying it.
— Barbara Jackson (@JudgeJackson) February 23, 2019
— Barbara Jackson (@JudgeJackson) February 23, 2019
Likewise, I’m not sure our Founding Fathers would be persuaded that the judiciary should have the power of writing and voiding laws, or drawing maps for that matter, from the bench. Luckily, though, the people will have a chance to exercise their sovereignty with respect to Judge G. Bryan Collins – he’s up for election again in Wake County in 2020. Rest assured his re-election campaign will be well funded by the Left considering all the work he’s done for them.