Maps settled for 2022…but dark clouds are abuilding!

The dust…some of it, at least…has settled on North Carolina redistricting. For now!

When last we visited the matter, the N.C. Legislature had just submitted remedial maps to the Superior Court for approval. (Recall that the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled all 3 maps to be “unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt.”) The remedial maps – while still gerrymandered – are better for everyone, and the Superior Court gave its stamp of approval for the state legislative maps. Not so for the proposed Congressional map (U.S. House of Representatives.) The justices instead opted for the map drawn by three “special masters,” all previous N.C. Supreme Court justices.

In a repeat of their previous reaction, legislative leadership screamed “bloody murder,” and submitted an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the U.S. Constitution explicitly grants state legislatures the power to set the “time, manner, and place of elections.” Their point? By having special masters draw a fair map, the N.C. Supreme Court overstepped its authority.

On Monday, March 7, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the emergency appeal! The Special Masters’ fair map stands. Great news there, but worrisome on two other counts. 1) That map can be used only for the 2022 election. Once the new legislature is sworn in – when the calendar rolls over into 2023 – the entire ugly, unethical, immoral, and dishonest redistricting by gerrymandering will crank up again. 2) The Trump-appointed Supreme Court justices indicated a high level of interest in revisiting the spurious and democracy-threatening independent state legislative theory soon. 

GerryMander didn’t “run the table” this time around, but he’s still in the neighborhood and passionately committed to doing his unique part in ending American democracy.

And that democracy – OUR DEMOCRACY – is under relentless attack. If We the People cannot elect those who represent us, we’ll fall further into the trap where crucial balance-of-power is corrupted. The movement afoot to politicize the justice system – at every level – is a dangerous case in point.

In February, the Washington, D.C. non-profit Freedom House, which studies democracy, political freedom, and human rights said, “Global freedom faces a dire threat. Around the world, the enemies of liberal democracy—a form of self-government in which human rights are recognized and every individual is entitled to equal treatment under law—are accelerating their attacks. The global order is nearing a tipping point, and if democracy’s defenders do not work together to help guarantee freedom for all people, the authoritarian model will prevail.”

That should send shivers through all our souls.

Here in North Carolina, early voting for the May 17 Primary Election opens on Thursday, April 28. Your vote is your power. Please use it for good, not chaos. For democracy, not authoritarianism or dictatorship. For integrity, not rigging elections outcomes to snuff out the will of We the People. Before heading to the polling place, carefully study your ballot, and vote all the way down to the bottom.

You count…and so does you vote. But…only if you use it!