RALEIGH — The North Carolina State Supreme Court has reversed rulings that affect the state’s redistricting maps and a voter identification law.
On Friday, the state’s supreme court threw out the previous rulings that said the redistricting maps and voter ID law passed by the Republican legislature were both illegal. North Carolina Democrats had argued that the redistricting maps were drawn specifically to give the Republicans an advantage and that the voter ID law was racially biased. New maps drawn for the 2022 election led to the Democrats winning seven of the state’s 14 congressional seats, and the voter ID law was blocked from taking effect.
Republicans had argued that the state constitution doesn’t specifically address partisan bias in redistricting, so those decisions should be left to lawmakers. Attorneys for the voters and advocacy groups that initially sued over the maps said that the facts in the cases haven’t changed, only the combination of justices have, according to the Associated Press.
The court had announced back in February that it would rehear the decision, according to the Associated Press. The court flipped from a Democratic majority to a Republican majority this year after the November election, and Friday’s decision to toss out the previous ruling in Harper v. Hall is a big win for the state GOP.
According to Friday’s ruling, the state supreme court says “claims of partisan gerrymandering” are nonjusticiable, meaning they can’t be decided by a court.
What it means is that the GOP-controlled legislature will be able to have wide control over drawing legislative district boundaries for the next decade, according to the Associated Press. It also means that a photo ID mandate that was approved in late 2018 will be enforced for the 2024 election.
Rep. Destin Hall took to Twitter after Friday’s ruling, applauding the new Supreme Court for “reversing one of the worst cases of liberal judicial activism our country has ever seen.”
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein called the ruling a “devastating blow to democracy” and accused the justices of “taking power away from the people and giving it to an out-of-control gerrymandered Republican supermajority in the legislature.”
(WATCH: NC Supreme Court delays primaries to review gerrymandering lawsuits)
©2023 Cox Media Group