Commentary

Amendments court challenge: You won’t believe what the Berger-Moore brief tells the court

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger

In the age of Donald Trump, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be shocked by anything the plutocrats and politicians who lead and control the modern American Right do or say. When the President of the United States is a serial liar and people who know this fact and know the danger it poses to the nation like Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis still refuse to break with or condemn him, you know the situation is bad.

That said, the current effort by Republican legislative leaders in North Carolina to dishonestly and deceitfully remake the state constitution in fundamental ways may just set a new low.

Or, at least it did for a few days.

This past Friday, these same men took things to an even lower point with a remarkable document they filed with the three-judge panel that’s hearing a pair of lawsuits challenging four of the blatantly deceptive amendments. The document is a response to a “friend of the court” brief that was filed by a group of voting and civil rights nonprofits endorsing the challenge to the amendments.

In it, not only do Berger and Moore reassert their patently dishonest and laugh-out-loud contentions that the ballot amendments are not misleading, that their efforts to push them through are not about entrenching their own power, and that the courts have no role in assessing the validity of the amendments, they end the brief with by denying that Americans have a fundamental right to vote.

This is how they put it:

Amici Curiae also argue that the right to vote is a fundamental right and that the ‘misrepresentations’ on the ballot negate this right…. However, to be clear, what the United States Supreme Court and the North Carolina Supreme Court have held to be a fundamental right is the right to vote on equal terms….

Given that the ballot language set forth in the Session Law will be the same language on all ballots for all voters across the State, Defendants dispute that the equal right to vote is in any way implicated by the challenged Session Laws.”

You got that? Not only do Berger and Moore deny that Americans have a fundamental right to vote and substitute a “right to vote on equal terms,” they then go on to contend that because the language will be the same on all ballots, that lesser right is fully satisfied.

To which, all a caring and thinking person can say in response is “you’ve got to be kidding.” By such preposterous “logic,” an amendment that purported to be about tax law, but that actually included a hidden provision to allow the government to establish a state religion or abolish the Governor’s office would be just fine and wouldn’t impinge in the slightest on any fundamental rights. What’s more, the courts can’t even review the matter, say Berger and Moore!

Between this and GOP boss Dallas Woodhouse’s threat of impeachment if judges rule against Berger and Moore, North Carolina is clearly in the midst of a serious dalliance with tyranny these days. Let’s hope and pray the judges muster the courage to say “no” to this outrageous bluster and bullying

 

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