NC Supreme Court ruling on Voter ID, Partisan gerrymandering, felons voting draws ire, celebration

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Monday, May 1, 2023
Voter ID requirement, partisan gerrymandering allowed in North Carolina: NC Supreme Court
In massive victories for Republicans, North Carolina's state Supreme Court on Friday threw out previous rulings that had declared illegal both redistricting maps for excessive part

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- In major victories for Republicans that have nationwide implications, North Carolina's state Supreme Court on Friday threw out previous rulings that had declared illegal both redistricting maps for excessive partisanship and a Voter ID law for being infected with racial bias.

The ruling garnered ire from Democrats, other politicians and organizations while Republicans celebrated the ruling.

Here's a look at the responses:

NC Attorney General Josh Stein: "The Court's ruling in Harper v. Hall today is a devastating blow to democracy. Our constitution is supposed to be a check on the power of the legislature. But these Republican justices have surrendered that role, taking power away from the people and giving it to an out-of-control gerrymandered Republican supermajority in the legislature. I will not stop fighting so the voters choose their representatives, not the other way around."

NC House Speaker Tim Moore: "The decisions handed down today by the NC Supreme Court have ensured that our constitution and the will of the people of North Carolina are honored. Nearly five years after the voters of this state overwhelmingly voted in favor of photo ID at the polls, it has finally become the law of the land. We will fulfill our constitutional duty to redraw state house, senate and congressional maps."

NC Senate Leader Phil Berger: "For years plaintiffs and activist courts have manipulated our Constitution to achieve policy outcomes that could not be won at the ballot box. Today's rulings affirm that our Constitution cannot be exploited to fit the political whims of left-wing Democrats."

U.S. Representative Wiley Nickel: "Make no mistake, the only real difference now is the makeup of the court, which enables the Republican majority in Raleigh to gerrymander our maps without repercussion and trample over the rights of voters across our state," said Rep. Nickel. "I've said it before and I'll say it again. Voters should choose their politicians. Politicians shouldn't choose their voters. I'm committed to the continued fight for an end to partisan gerrymandering, and in Congress, will do everything I can to protect the right to vote for every single one of my constituents back home in North Carolina."

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Congressman Chuck Edwards: "As a member of the North Carolina State Senate who helped bring this bill forward, I say it's high time the court has recognized the will of the people and restored common sense to our elections process. There is no good reason why an ID should not be necessary to perform our most sacred civic duty and participate in our democratic process."

Hilary Harris Klein, Senior Counsel for Voting Rights at Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ): "Today's decision marks a concerning and dramatic departure from the historic and important role our State Courts have played in protecting voters and providing a check on the Legislative branch. Checks and balances are fundamental to our system of government, and we share the concern of the dissent that 'the majority has already repeatedly revealed itself to be on a mission to pursue the agenda of this select few in the legislature.' Like our client Common Cause, we will continue to pursue free and fair elections for all North Carolinians."

Jeanette Doran, president and general counsel of the NC Institute for Constitutional Law: "The NC Supreme Court looked to the constitution and laws in each case and held faithful to them. Voters should be pleased with these opinions and the court's return to the rule of law." See the full statement here.

Dennis Gaddy, Director of Community Success Initiative: "Future generations will remember today as the day that democracy was gutted in North Carolina and voter suppression re-emerged in the supreme court. Stripping away the right to vote from over 56,000 people who had finally gotten their voices back clearly demonstrates just how dedicated our officials are to silencing the people whose rights they are supposed to protect. It shows their commitment to knowingly and willingly upholding racist laws and practices designed specifically to disenfranchise Black voters. We are disappointed but not deterred. We will be at the General Assembly on May 2nd to make our voices heard. We will not stand idly by while the rights and freedoms granted to us by birth are taken away by those who do not believe in redemption, equity, and full access to a free and fair democracy. "

Michael Whatley, the NCGOP Chairman: "This is a great day for North Carolina. It is a great day for the rule of law. The North Carolina Supreme Court has reinstated the proper balance in the courts and the legislature," he said. "I think this is great for our elections and it's going to be great for our state. I don't think that that is a threat to democracy in any way. I think that we want to make sure that it is easy to vote and hard to cheat in North Carolina," Whately said.

Jason Snead with Honest Elections Project Action: "Today's ruling in the North Carolina Supreme Court restoring voter ID, affirming the power of lawmakers to draw legislative maps, and upholding a law requiring felons to complete their full sentences before regaining ballot access is a victory for the rule of law and a recognition of the important, but limited, role of courts in our constitutional system. Left-wing litigators like anti-democracy attorney Marc Elias spent years treating the North Carolina Supreme Court like a supreme legislature. The Court's former Democratic majority used these hyper-partisan lawsuits to strike down a popular voter ID law, attempt to gerrymander the state for Democrats, and even invented a way for courts to strike down constitutional amendments passed by the people of North Carolina. They responded by electing a new Supreme Court majority, and today the North Carolina Supreme Court has delivered a win for fair elections governed by laws passed by elected legislatures. This is a win for the rule of law, for democracy, and for the people of North Carolina."