The North Carolina Supreme Court threw out a previous ruling against gerrymandering districting in the southern state on Friday. It also upheld the validity of a photo ID voting law being touted as a victory for the GOP.
The recent gerrymandering ruling from the newly-formed court, where conservatives hold a 5-2 advantage, is predicted to simplify the process for the GOP-controlled legislature to assist Republicans in securing additional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives during the upcoming 2024 elections.
In December, when the court leaned Democrat, it threw out a state Senate map from the GOP-led state legislature. It maintained congressional boundaries that trial judges had drawn up.
The December ruling emerged from a February 2022 landmark decision that ruled state courts can throw out district lines that would give an unfair advantage to one political party in a state that is narrowly divided.
The GOP on the court pushed back against the ruling and argued congressional districting should only be under the confines of elected lawmakers. Dems won seven of the 14 congressional seats in the state during the prior year’s election with the existing map.
Majority ruling: The previous court was wrong to find N.C. Constitution prohibited gerrymandering
In the Friday majority ruling, Chief Justice Paul Newby wrote the previous court was wrong to find that the North Carolina Constitution prohibited partisan gerrymandering. “In its decision today, the Court returns to its tradition of honoring the constitutional roles assigned to each branch.”
The ruling continued, “This case is not about partisan politics, but rather about realigning the proper roles of the judicial and legislative branches.”
Additionally, the high court tossed out a decision by a trial court that restored voting rights to convicted felons who had not completed their parole or probation.
“The decisions handed down today by the N.C. Supreme Court have ensured that our constitution and the will of the people of North Carolina are honored,” said House Speaker Tim Moore in a Friday press release.
Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General, who heads a Democrat group involved with supporting the state’s redistricting case, slammed Friday’s mapping decision as “a function of political personnel and partisan opportunism” from the GOP.
“History will not be kind to this court’s majority, which will now forever be stained for irreparably harming the legitimacy and reputation of North Carolina’s highest tribunal,” said Holder.