‘That’s the end of the rule of law…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) After forcing North Carolina to redraw its legislative maps two years ago, an activist group that has repeatedly sued to flip the state Democratic is again asking the courts to intervene because it was unhappy with the results.
But the Left’s latest skulduggery could have a devastating impact on public confidence in an electoral system already fraught with partisan bickering and scandal, according to state GOP leaders.
“If Democratic judges manipulate the State Constitution to expand their party’s power in the legislative branch, we are looking at a full-blown constitutional crisis,” said state Sen. Ralph Hise, chairman of the Senate Redistricting and Elections Committee, in a press release. “That’s the end of the rule of law.”
Common Cause, a national left-wing lobbying organization masquerading as a ‘nonpartisan’ charity, cried racism on the Republican-led legislature that oversaw redistricting following the 2010 Census.
A panel of judges agreed, ultimately demanding a redo of the maps for both the state and federal districts in 2017.
Despite picking up five seats in the state’s 50-seat Senate and 10 seats in its 120-seat General Assembly, breaking GOP super-majorities in both, Democrats were unable to gain control of either chamber in the November 2018 election.
Now, the group has filed another suit asking for a redraw of all 170 districts in the state legislature, with the hope of a more favorable outcome using the court system instead of voters.
Absurdly, said state Republicans, that includes asking for a revision of four House districts from a map that Common Cause endorsed during the earlier court-mandated redistricting.
Pat Ryan, a spokesman for state Sen. Phil Berger, said far from being a principled effort to bolster representative democracy the suit was a blatant ploy to flip the legislature before the next redistricting so that Democrats could enact their own state-level gerrymandering.
“What should really raise a red flag about motives here [was that Common Cause] filed a day, two days, after the election results,” Ryan said.
North Carolina Democrats’ biggest steal of the November election—at least at the state level—may have been the addition of Anita Earls to the state Supreme Court.
Earls, a radical attorney who had helped litigate the earlier redistricting effort in favor of Democrats, won a three-way race with 49.5 percent of the vote after Democrat Chris Anglin switched parties in June 2018, fraudulently running as a Republican and poaching voters from incumbent Barbara Jackson.
The pickup gave Democrats a 5-2 majority on the court, where a partisan elections process was re-instated in 2016.
“They’re hoping that a Democratic judge [will] discover some heretofore unknown” provision in the state constitution that might render Republican-favored districts illegal, Ryan said.
In addition, to the state-level fight, Common Cause also filed suit in federal court over North Carolina’s 13 U.S. congressional districts. Those, too, underwent a mandatory redraw that yielded no additional pickups on election night for Democrats (with the outcome of the disputed 9th District race still to be determined).
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Rucho vs. Common Cause on appeal, along with a separate case from Maryland, likely in March of this year. Those decisions could help resolve national-level battles over the legality of gerrymandering.
However, even assuming liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is healthy and present for the decision, the swapping of chronic swing-voter Anthony Kennedy for the (presumably) more conservative Brett Kavanaugh likely shifts the high court to the right. Kennedy had sided with the court’s liberal wing in previous redistricting cases.
A failure at the national level would make redistricting with a Democratic state legislature the only shot for left-wing activists of once again turning the Tarheel State a deep blue.
“They probably figure they have a much better chance” through the state courts, Ryan said.
Ironically, he pointed out that Republicans had only been in control of the state since around 2010, when they were able to win outright through the elections process rather than court challenges.
“Democrats controlled the legislature here for 140 years, and they didn’t have a problem with it till they lost,” Ryan said.
It’s one of several hypocrisies the state GOP has noted regarding the legal challenges being posed by the Left.
At a press event last week, state Sen. Dean Arp said the same principle applied to the recent accusations of election fraud in a handful of North Carolina counties.
State Republicans say partisan Democratic elections officials not only were aware of but may have been actively involved in earlier ballot-harvesting operations. But amid accusations that 9th District Republican candidate Mark Harris had contracted with a get-out-the-vote operative who may have used illegal harvesting practices, they feigned shock and refused to certify the race.
Although the state GOP maintains that any alleged irregularities are not enough to change the outcome, Democrats have pushed for a new election, and the Nancy Pelosi-led House of Representatives has signaled it would refuse to seat Harris without conducting its own investigation.
“To call for a new ballgame after you lose is not how you play,” Arp said.