About those November North Carolina judicial elections…
…they didn’t go well. North Carolina’s majority legislative party swept all state-wide judicial races. They now effectively OWN our courts. (Of historical interest—after the Nazi rise to power in 1933, the German system of justice underwent “coordination”—effectively meaning alignment with Nazi goals.)
Running up to our November Election Day, the winning judicial candidates paid lip service to fair and blind justice, then followed by stating that had they been on the bench when March ’22 Hall v. Harper case was heard, they’d have allowed unconstitutional gerrymandered maps to stand! Fair and blind justice? Not even close!
In a single day, the North Carolina justice system became a branch of a political party. An entire appendage of our checks and balance system wiped out!
The new 5-2 majority court wasted no time demonstrating their unabashed bias. On January 20, 2023, the GOP-controlled General Assembly asked “their court” to rehear that same aforementioned Hall case. Attorneys for Common Cause submitted a motion asking the court to dismiss the case. Included was this bit of whimsy from House Speaker Tim Moore justifying a rehearing “because the people of North Carolina sent a message on election day ‘rejecting the decisions of the “outgoing majority.’” Conveniently unmentioned by Moore is that the
voters election day message arrived under rigged and gerrymandered maps.
To little surprise, last week the court agreed to rehear the case on March 14.
All this portends disaster for any litigation that favors democracy, voting rights, public education, Medicaid expansion, protest and discourse, environment, or sensible gun laws.
On the horizon for the Old North State, a government that isn’t run for the people, but instead for raw power by politicians who cannot be voted out of office. No free and fair elections here! And of course, it began with the loathsome act of gerrymandering…politicians picking their voters by rigging elections. Democracy? Hardly!
And over that same North Carolina horizon looms the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Moore v. Harper, argued before “their honors” (really?) on December 7. The case will decide if state constitutions and state courts should have oversight to correct legislature’s unconstitutional gerrymanders. In other words, should state legislatures have free rein to rig elections without judicial oversight. Another shot at those pesky checks and balances, this one likely mortal.
Writing about the November elections, North Carolina Law professor Gene Nichol offered this: ”on November 8 the “people stood in the breach. Standing against election deniers (including seven N.C. members of the U.S. House) who lie as a way of being. Standing against Republican lawmakers obsessed with denying the defining foundation right to vote. Standing against gun-toting extremist groups seeking unsuccessfully to scare their adversaries away from the polls. Standing against justices profoundly unworthy of the name. Standing against
authoritarianism and for the actual American dream.”
Sounds pretty good…until you come to North Carolina…where Gerry Mander prevailed. And where democracy—whose prime tenet is citizen inclusion—took it on the chin! Maybe for the rest of our lives! Chew on that for a while!
Democracy really matters! If you believe in it, better figure out how to defend it! Otherwise, expect this: