#ELB: Breaking: North Carolina State Court Rules State Voter ID Constitutional Amendment is Void Because Enacted by a Racially Gerrymandered Legislature; Not Clear if Ruling Will Stand https://t.co/XQmoGIVlve
— Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) February 22, 2019
The Wake County Superior Court today ruled that the illegally gerrymandered North Carolina General Assembly did not have legal authority to place constitutional amendments on the ballot because it did not act with the full will of the people of North Carolina. The court voided two constitutional amendment proposals – related to imposing a photo voter ID requirement and lowering the state income tax cap – that were hurriedly enacted in the final 2018 special session of the illegally-constituted legislature before it left office.
Judge Bryan Collins of the Wake County Superior ruled that “[a]n illegally constituted General Assembly does not represent the people of North Carolina and is therefore not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s Constitution.” As a result, the two amendments challenged by the plaintiffs are void, and the constitution will revert to its earlier form.
It is not at all clear that this ruling will stand. Aside from the fact that these amendments went before voters for a popular vote (which was not called into question), this ruling would seem to call into question all the actions of the General Assembly based upon the improper drawing of districts. I have not seen such a holding before.
While Hasen, who is one of the preeminent subject matter experts in the area of election law, may be right that this ruling may not stand, it does appear that other courts, including a Federal court in Connecticut, have made similar holdings in the past.
I'd also note that this decision is not without precedent https://t.co/3vjNv8F0uh
— David Nir (@DavidNir) February 22, 2019
I’m sure the Republican majorities in the North Carolina legislature, as well as the North Carolina Republican Party, will try to appeal this through the state courts hoping to get the state supreme court to overrule the state court in Wake County. And if that fails to the Federal courts in order to get the case to the Supreme Court and a favorable ruling from the conservative majority. We’ll have to wait to see what happens, but for now this is a bit of good news. Especially as it gives Governor Cooper ammunition within the North Carolina state courts to ignore the ridiculous restrictions that the Republican majorities in the North Carolina legislature keep trying to place on him.