North Carolina judges rule Republicans 'acted unconstitutionally' in strategic voter suppression efforts
North Carolina Supreme Court justices found that GOP lawmakers “acted unconstitutionally” by implementing two voter suppression tactics to “intentionally” hinder Black voters, The News & Observer reports.
The tactics the Republican officials put in place include a voter ID law that specifically targeted Black voters, and gerrymandering – meaning state lines were strategically redrawn to ensure the Democratic votes ultimately did not matter.
Both verdicts were fully supported by four Democratic justices, and voted against by three Republican justices.
For the gerrymandering verdict, Justice Robin Hudson wrote, “the foundational democratic principles of equality and popular sovereignty enshrined in our Constitution’s Declaration of Rights vest in the people of this state the fundamental right to vote on equal terms.” She added “it deprives a voter of his or her fundamental right to equal voting power” when lines are drawn to skew election outcomes.
Because Republican judges won in North Carolina’s midterm races, these rulings occurred just before the court flips parties in January.
In the voter ID case, Justice Anita Earls referenced a 1964 civil rights case saying, “the right to vote is a fundamental right, preservative of all the rights. If the right to vote is undermined, it renders illusory all ‘other rights, even the most basic.’”
The rulings were considered high priority for the Democratic justices, who employed the use of a “procedural move” to ensure the cases were heard before end of year, The News & Observer notes.
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