RALEIGH – Over and over again, Leftists opposed to Republican control of the General Assembly and the (mostly) common sense policies they push have resorted to the courts in an attempt to stymie the actions of the legislature. It is the only tool they have, as their own policies have earned them successive super-minority status in those chambers.
In many cases the litigious Left has found favor with judges that think it their job to decided political issues rather than interpret the constitution(s). And so, the Left is only encouraged to keep it up, as they are now with a last ditch effort by the NAACP and a cohort of social/environmental justice organizations to invalidate four of the six constitutional amendments before the people have even spoken via the ballot box.
“The North Carolina NAACP, Clean Air Carolina, Southern Environmental Law Center, and Forward Justice today filed a motion for Summary Judgment in their case challenging four proposed amendments to North Carolina’s constitution. In their brief to the court, the groups argue that the North Carolina General Assembly lacks the legal authority to amend our state’s constitution because the supermajority required to propose amendments is the product of the legislature’s illegal racial gerrymander.
The suit challenges four specific proposed amendments, relating to judicial vacancies, state board of ethics and elections, photo voter ID requirements, and income tax rates, each of which passed with just barely enough votes to clear the constitutionally mandated three-fifths majority.”
See? A former court’s politically motivated opinion that the state legislative districts were illegal racial gerrymanders is used here as a springboard for the Leftists to argue that such a status invalidates anything the General Assembly does. Never mind all the voters that put these lawmakers in office, and the decisions by courts to allow the current districts to stand until after elections.
The NAACP & Co. demonstrates it’s purely partisan motivations by singling out the amendments they disagree with politically, and leaving alone the others, a contradicting their logic that everything the “illegitimate legislature” does is invalid.
If you, the people, decide that voter ID and tax caps should be added to the North Carolina Constitution, this group wants your votes to be invalidated by the court. They attempt to argue that gerrymandering that “disenfranchised minority voters” makes the legislature illegitimate and therefore it cannot propose amendments on the ballot, but they fail to address the fact that each and everyone of the voters they claim have been disenfranchised are able to cast votes on these very amendments. There is no dilution, no districting questions, no calculus; the voters each get to stand and be counted on these issues.
To argue that these amendments are invalid is to argue that the people’s decisions are invalid. And they do this all while presenting themselves as the defenders of popular sovereignty.
“Our constitution makes clear that it may only be amended via the will of the people of North Carolina,” said Kym Hunter, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Our current General Assembly drew districts that segregated too many of our state’s African-American voters into an artificially small number of districts, diluting their voice. This illegal body cannot be permitted to take the monumental step of radically changing our foundational document.”
These people should not be taken seriously, by voters or the courts. In fact, last time around the court dismissed the same ‘illegitimate legislature’ argument, they threw it out, even while siding with Gov. Cooper’s contention that two of the amendments did not sufficiently explain their respective implications.
The court should throw them out again.