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In news that probably won’t get the amount of attention it deserves, a massive ruling was handed down by the North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday. The newly-minted conservative majority found that partisan gerrymandering does not violate the state’s constitution, reversing a ruling made by the court when it was under previous Democrat control.
The prior left-wing court invented out of whole cloth a constitutional provision that forced the legislature to create so-called “fair districts.” What that means is that the map that was ultimately adopted for the 2022 election was drawn in such a way as to guarantee a near-neutral split between Republican and Democrat seats. That allowed Democrats to win several seats they would have otherwise lost.
But as some of warned at the time, that wasn’t going to be the last word on the matter. Because supreme court judges in North Carolina are elected, Republicans took a commanding 5-2 majority. As predicted, that led to the matter of partisan gerrymandering being taken up again. Now, the chickens have come home to roost, and it’s all over but the crying.
NEW: as expected, new GOP majority on NC Supreme Court reverses previous court’s ruling that partisan gerrymandering is illegal. This could wipe out four Dem seats, nearly doubling the GOP’s cushion in the House. Full backstory at @CookPolitical: https://t.co/HkgUv9uCuJ
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) April 28, 2023
It can’t be understated how big of a deal this is. The GOP has a very slim majority in the House of Representatives right now. All it would have taken were a few bad candidates or scandals to arise during the next election to hand the gavel over to Hakeem Jeffries. Having a high probability of an extra four seats in North Carolina is just the breathing room Republicans need to ensure they hold onto power no matter what happens with the presidential election in 2024.
Redistricting wasn’t the only thing on the menu, though. The supreme court also reversed rulings by the old Democrat majority that found voter ID to be illegal and allowed felons to vote.
BREAKING: N.C. Supreme Court (SCONC) restores 2018 voter ID law, ends state court consideration of partisan gerrymandering claims, and ends felon voting. Three separate 5-2 decisions withe Democratic justices dissenting. #ncga #ncpol Details to follow @CarolinaJournal.
— Mitch Kokai (@mitchkokai) April 28, 2023
It’s been a good day for North Carolina. It’s also been a good day for America. These rulings will go a long way in pushing back on Democratic Party control, both at the state and national levels. No one is happier about that than Kevin McCarthy, who has had a very strong start to his run as Speaker. It looks like he’ll be keeping his job for at least another cycle unless some major shifts happen in the electorate.
In the end, Democrats overplayed their hand again, and now they will pay the price. They could have just negotiated a moderately gerrymandered map in 2022 and taken a small loss. But because they pushed the issue so far, they created an opportunity for a ruling that essentially gives free rein to Republicans in North Carolina to destroy Democrat prospects. Let it be done.
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