Tuesday, May 23, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against North Carolina GOP Racists Who Control The State Legislature

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The Republican-dominated North Carolina legislature has given Governor Roy Cooper every reason in the world for him to want to do them some harm. The House has 74 Republicans, 45 Democrats and an independent and the Senate has 35 Republicans and 16 Democrats. Yesterday, after the 5-3 U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming that the Republicans in the legislature are a pack of racist animals who should immediately lined up against a wall and shot-- not blindfolds and no cigarettes-- Cooper pointed out that "for the second time in two weeks, the Supreme Court ruled that Republican legislative leaders broke the law. Today's ruling showed they tried to rig elections by drawing unconstitutional districts that discriminated against African Americans." Except they didn't try; they did it. In 2012 Obama won North Carolina 2,270,395 (50%) to 2,178,391 (48%). And this year Señor Trumpanzee beat Hillary 2,362,631 (49.8%) to 2,189,316 (46.2%). So let's say it's a 50/50 state.

But the state's 13 congressional districts have been drawn in such a way to create 3 Democratic districts and 10 Republican districts. A fair redraw would result in one party winning 6 and the other winning 7. Gerrymandering has been very pernicious in North Carolina. I was kidding about the firing squad for the Republican state legislators. With no punishment, there is no reason for them-- or other monsters like them around the country-- to alter their behavior. "Their gerrymandered electoral maps and their bogus voter access law-- both struck down by the Supreme Court-- have the same goal: To win elections at all costs," continued Cooper. "Being able to hold free and fair elections is a pillar of our democracy, and today's ruling is a big step in the fight for fairer districts... [W]e must continue to work to ensure that all of us have an equal shot at the ballot box." The Republican legislators won't. What do they have to lose. Maybe even if just one in ten were randomly pulled out and shot they would change their behavior. Maybe. It's worth a try. After all the Supreme Court ruled that they had used drawn on their racism to violate the Constitution. That sounds like a serious offense, no?

The NY Times' Adam Liptak reported that "The court rejected arguments from state lawmakers that their purpose in drawing the maps was not racial discrimination but partisan advantage."
The decision was the court’s latest attempt to solve a constitutional puzzle: how to disentangle the roles of race and partisanship when black voters overwhelmingly favor Democrats. The difference matters because the Supreme Court has said that only racial gerrymandering is constitutionally suspect.

Election law experts said the ruling would make it easier to challenge voting districts based partly on partisan affiliations and partly on race.

“This will lead to many more successful racial gerrymandering cases in the American South and elsewhere,” said Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine.

Democrats welcomed the ruling.

“This is a watershed moment in the fight to end racial gerrymandering,” Eric H. Holder Jr., the former attorney general and the chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said in a statement. “North Carolina’s maps were among the worst racial gerrymanders in the nation.”

Conservatives complained that the Supreme Court had succeeded only in making the law murkier.

“The Supreme Court says race can be a factor in redistricting, but not the predominant factor, a rule that is so vague, so broad and so lacking in a definable legal standard that it is not really a rule at all,” Hans von Spakovsky, a lawyer with the Heritage Foundation, said in a statement.

The ruling on Monday was the second Supreme Court victory for North Carolina Democrats this month. Last Monday, the justices declined to hear an appeal of a decision that had struck down parts of a restrictive North Carolina voting law that, among other things, tightened voter identification requirements and cut back on early voting.

A federal appeals court had ruled that the restrictions were an unconstitutional effort to “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”

...In defending the new district lines for District 12, state lawmakers said they had meant to secure a partisan advantage for Republicans, a lawful goal. But Justice Kagan said race could predominate even if legislators had mixed motives.

“The sorting of voters on the grounds of their race remains suspect even if race is meant to function as a proxy for other (including political) characteristics,” she wrote, in a passage that some election law experts said would make it easier to challenge asserted racial gerrymanders.

In a concurrence, Justice Thomas said he agreed that the trial court had not committed a clear error in finding that “race was North Carolina’s predominant motive in drawing the district.”
Goal Thermometer So far, Blue America has endorsed two candidates for Congress in North Carolina, Matt Coffay who is running for the western district currently held by Freedom Caucus chairman, Mark Meadows, and Jenny Marshall, the 5th District candidate for the seat Virginia Foxx occupies. Last night Jenny told us that she's "very pleased with the decision handed down by the Supreme Court today. The GOP and their ploy to gerrymander groups of voters by race was defeated. While the decision is a step in the right direction, we still do not have a clear indication as to what the next steps will be for state and congressional races that were won under gerrymandered districts. In 2016 they redrew congressional districts in North Carolina. The new 5th district moved more blue, but most of the districts remained heavily gerrymandered. Not surprisingly the outcome of the election remained the same at 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats. While we cannot blame gerrymandering for all the results of these congressional races, we must demand that gerrymandering by both parties end and that non partisan commissions be tasked with the job of drawing our district lines fairly to all.

This morning we spoke with Matt Coffay. He told us "It's hard to say at this point how this ruling will impact North Carolina for 2018. However, it's clear that there's now a groundswell of both public and judicial support when it comes to ending gerrymandering. The irony with this case is that the plaintiffs didn't claim they were innocent of gerrymandering: instead, they claimed they had politically (as opposed to racially) gerrymandered the districts; which, up until now, has been legally acceptable. Fortunately, the Wisconsin decision regarding political gerrymandering gives me hope that legal precedent is also beginning to swing in the direction of making political gerrymandering illegal. I truly believe that with enough public awareness and pressure, we can put an end to this despicable, undemocratic practice once and for all. It's time we stopped letting politicians pick their voters, and instead let voters pick their politicians."

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5 Comments:

At 11:50 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

That's IT?
Thomas SURPRISES us with a vote WITH the 4 Progressive judges on Race/Gerrymandering ?

...crickets....

Could be a very intg couple years. That guy was TOTALLY predictable. Maybe not?

 
At 5:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thomas has used up his one "black" vote. He'll be back to being Scalia's mute shadow from here on.

So... the SC (and lower courts) find that Rs defrauded voters, but did NOT find that the election results must be erased, that districts must be redrawn fairly and that new elections must be conducted asap?

So... this SC decision, aside from being vague and worthless as precedent, is pointless and toothless as well?

OK. Now I see why Thomas did what he did... essentially pretending to be black only when it means nothing at all.

He'd make a very good democrap.

 
At 5:21 AM, Blogger Thomas Ten Bears said...

Fascinating.

 
At 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your statistics re Obama winning NC relate to 2008, not 2012. Obama LOST NC in 2012.

 
At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

LOL Ano,
Thomas WOULD make a good Democrap! Fingerz crossed.

 

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