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Red state court reinstates voter ID, overturns previous gerrymandering decision

by

Daily Caller News Foundation

The North Carolina Supreme Court handed down decisions Friday restoring the state’s voter ID requirement and overturning its previous ruling against legislative district maps that critics said unfairly favored Republicans.

The State Supreme Court ruled in December against North Carolina’s 2018 law S.B. 824, which instructs in-person voters to present photo identification, with plaintiffs arguing it was intended to discriminate against black voters. The court shifted to a 5-2 Republican majority in January and reversed the previous decision Friday, deciding that plaintiffs had not failed to prove such discriminatory intent.

S.B. 824 allows for citizens to vote without presenting a photo ID if they face “a reasonable impediment,” North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Phil Berger Berger pointed out in his majority opinion. He called it “one of the least restrictive voter identification laws” nationwide.

“Essentially, North Carolina’s photo identification statute does not require that an individual present a photo identification to vote,” the Berger said.

The court also overturned its February 2022 decision against 2021 legislative districting maps devised by the Republican-controlled state’s General Assembly, which plaintiffs claimed were drawn to unfairly benefit Republicans.

“Our constitution expressly assigns the redistricting authority to the General Assembly subject to explicit limitations in the text,” Chief Justice Paul Newby’s majority opinion said. “Those limitations do not address partisan gerrymandering. It is not within the authority of this Court to amend the constitution to create such limitations on a responsibility that is textually assigned to another branch.”

The non-profit organization Common Cause, which helped develop the maps that replaced those created by the State Assembly, said the two decisions were part of “a blatant attack on democracy.”

Republican Justices Trey Allen defeated then-Democratic State Justice Sam Ervin IV to be elected in November, while Richard Dietz took retired Democratic Justice Robin Hudson’s seat, giving Republicans a 5-2 majority on the court, The Associated Press reported.

“Today is a great day for North Carolina and the Rule of Law,” North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley said Thursday. “The People of North Carolina rejected the blatant activism of the progressive judges by electing a strong majority of conservative Justices.”

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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