There have been some strange lower court decisions regarding North Carolina in recent years. A voter ID law, passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor was overturned, while similar laws in other states were allowed to stand. Then the states voting districts were challenged, after they had been redrawn at the request of the courts. It makes your head spin. Today the Supreme Court of the United States weighed in on the redistricting matter.
The Carolina Journal reports today:
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s ruling striking down 28 North Carolina legislative districts as cases of unconstitutional racial gerrymandering. But the high court has rejected the idea of holding special legislative elections this year.
The Supreme Court had issued a stay on Jan. 10 blocking a three-judge panel’s order of a special election. Today’s unsigned Supreme Court order chides the trial-court panel for ordering a special 2017 legislative election without making a convincing argument why that remedy is needed.
Justices say their trial-court colleagues should have used an “equitable weighing process” to determine the proper remedy for dealing with the racially gerrymandered election maps. “Rather than undertaking such an analysis in this case, the District Court addressed the balance of equities in only the most cursory fashion,” the Supreme Court order states. “As noted above, the court simply announced that ‘[w]hile special elections have costs,’ those unspecified costs ‘pale in comparison’ to the prospect that citizens will be ‘represented by legislators elected pursuant to a racial gerrymander.’
“That minimal reasoning would appear to justify a special election in every racial-gerrymandering case — a result clearly at odds with our demand for careful case-specific analysis,” the order continues. “For that reason, we cannot have confidence that the court adequately grappled with the interests on both sides of the remedial question before us.”
“And because the District Court’s discretion ‘was barely exercised here,’ its order provides no meaningful basis for even deferential review,” according to the Supreme Court.
North Carolina will be forced to redraw the districts until everyone is happy with them, but I am thankful that we don’t have to have another election this year. That would have been very expensive for the state and totally unnecessary.
We need national voter ID. I realize that individual states are in charge of their elections, as it should be, but there needs to be a requirement that voters identify themselves as eligible voters before they vote. Almost all free countries have some form of voter identification, and America needs to join them.