RALEIGH (LifeSiteNews) – With its new conservative majority, the North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday reversed prior decisions against state voting rules and a Republican-redrawn districting map, a boon to the GOP’s prospects going into the 2024 elections.
The Carolina Journal reports that the state’s highest court, on which two Democrat justices were replaced with Republicans last year, voted 5-2 to reinstate North Carolina’s 2018 law requiring photo identification in order to vote and districting maps favorable to Republicans in congressional and state legislative races, and to forbid felons from voting in state elections until they have completed their sentences.
All three rulings were issued “with prejudice,” meaning that opponents cannot challenge them again.
“Our constitution expressly assigns the redistricting authority to the General Assembly subject to explicit limitations in the text. Those limitations do not address partisan gerrymandering,” wrote Chief Justice Paul Newby. “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 […] creating partisan redistricting standards is rife with policy decisions. Policy decisions belong to the legislative branch, not the judiciary.”
“The people of North Carolina overwhelmingly support voter identification and other efforts to promote greater integrity and confidence in our elections,” said Republican state Senate leader Phil Berger. “Subjective tests and judicial sleight of hand have systematically thwarted the will of the people and the intent of the legislature. But no court exists for the vindication of political interests, and judges exceed constitutional boundaries when they act as a super-legislature.”
RedState contributor Bonchie suggests that the rulings may have saved Republicans’ national prospects from disaster ahead of next year’s critical races for control of Congress and the White House.
“The GOP has a very slim majority in the House of Representatives right now,” Bonchie explains. “All it would have taken were a few bad candidates or scandals to arise during the next election to hand the gavel over to Hakeem Jeffries. Having a high probability of an extra four seats in North Carolina is just the breathing room Republicans need to ensure they hold onto power, no matter what happens with the presidential election in 2024.”
Democrat President Joe Biden, who plans on running for reelection, currently sits at a job approval rating of just 42.5%, although GOP underperformance last fall after Biden’s first two years has left Republicans and conservatives divided on how to fare better in 2024, including on whether to renominate former President Donald Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president.