NC Supreme Court Rules Legislators Elected Due To Racist Voting Maps Have Limited Power

Source: NC Policy Watch

A groundbreaking ruling last week has put Republicans’ desire to pass discriminatory anti-voter measures, such as voter ID, on hold. In its recent ruling, the state Supreme Court held that the North Carolina Constitution imposes limits on a racially gerrymandered legislature’s authority to initiate the process of amending the Constitution.

Rigging elections by trampling on the rights of Black voters has consequences,” stated NC NAACP President Deborah Maxwell in a statement. “No legislature has the right to use racially gerrymandered maps—infecting more than two-thirds of the districts of this state—to steal power from the people to change our state’s constitution.”

In 2018, the state NAACP challenged constitutional amendments passed in 2018 requiring photo ID for people voting in person and lowering the personal and corporate income tax caps from 10% to 7%, according to N.C. Policy Watch. NC’s NAACP noted the legislative overreach and stated legislators from unconstitutional districts couldn’t legitimately propose changes to the constitution.

“A supermajority engineered through an unconstitutional racial gerrymander does not have unlimited authority to alter the constitution. As it has throughout its history, the NAACP stood up where it saw injustice,” stated Senior Attorney Kym Meyer.

Historically, state Republicans have pushed forth discriminatory laws that attack Black and Brown North Carolinians’ constitutional right to vote. Voter ID laws backed by Republicans have been struck down as unconstitutional in the past, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit finding that a 2013 North Carolina elections law targeted African-Americans with “almost surgical precision.” 

This recent ruling comes after the state Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that Republican legislators once again drew up unconstitutional voting maps in 2021

“The court’s ruling is an historic win for democracy and the people of North Carolina,” stated Meyer. “North Carolina’s Constitution can be amended only by the will of the people. “

The case heads back to a lower court for further review.

Read more from Policy Watch.

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