Courts & the Law, Defending Democracy

Supreme Court sends Cooper, NAACP back to lower court over rewritten constitutional amendments

The state Supreme Court declined to intervene in Gov. Roy Cooper’s or the North Carolina NAACP’s renewed litigation over two rewritten constitutional amendments, forcing them both to return to the trial courts if the want to block them from the November ballot.

Both orders denying relief in Cooper v. Berger and NC NAACP v. Moore were released late Wednesday night. The move was hailed by Republicans, particularly Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett).

Lewis also thanked the high court for removing its temporary stay halting ballots earlier in the day, noting that those who wanted to vote by mail deserved that process to begin. A very short time later though, the court issued another stay halting the ballot preparation process.

It’s expected Cooper and the NAACP will continue to pursue litigation at the lower court and then again work their way back up to the state Supreme Court.

While ballot preparation and printing needs to begin Saturday to comply with federal absentee voting standards, the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement released a statement earlier Wednesday that staff was exploring more options.

“It takes about three weeks to prepare, print, test and deliver ballots to counties across the state,” a State Board news release states. “To meet the federal deadline, that process should start around Sept. 1, although the State Board staff is exploring additional options to ensure federal compliance if delays continue.”

Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse was none too pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision, despite it being a temporary win for his fellow ideologues.

As of now, if litigation moves forward and lawmakers prevail on all fronts, there will be six constitutional amendments on the ballot this fall: one restructuring the State Board and enshrining the body into the constitution; one transferring gubernatorial appointment authority to the General Assembly for judicial vacancies; one taxing the state income tax; one requiring a photo identification to vote; one about hunting and fishing; and one that has to do with expanding victims’ rights.

Cooper is suing over the State Board amendment and the judicial vacancy amendment. He prevailed once in lower court but will go back to challenge the new amendments.

The NAACP is challenging the same two new amendments plus the tax cap one and the photo ID one. They had prevailed on the two Cooper did in lower court, but not the other two.

Another big case that hinges on the ballot and court delays is one involving the federal court ruling the 2016 congressional map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. Lawmakers could have to draw 13 new districts before the November election.

Follow NC Policy Watch for updates as litigation is expected to move fast over the next couple days. See the three Wednesday night Supreme Court orders below.

Cooper Supreme Court by NC Policy Watch on Scribd

NAACP Supreme Court by NC Policy Watch on Scribd

Late Wednesday Stay by NC Policy Watch on Scribd

2 Comments


  1. Dallas Woodhouse

    August 30, 2018 at 7:55 am

    I was neither happy or not happy I was just presenting the information as I understood it

  2. Reed

    August 30, 2018 at 9:13 am

    neither, nor unhappy

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