A Wake County Superior Court judge acted yesterday to strike down two constitutional amendments placed on the state ballot last year by Republican supermajorities that had been elected via unconstitutionally gerrymandered legislative maps. The amendments would have imposed a new statewide voter ID requirement and capped the state income tax at 7%.
Judge Bryan Collins put it this way in his eminently reasonable ruling:
“…the constitutional amendments placed on the ballot on November 6, 2018 were approved by a General Assembly that did not represent the people of North Carolina….An illegally constituted General Assembly does not represent the people of North Carolina and is therefore not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s constitution.”
He also dismissed the contention of defendants that it would somehow cause chaos and confusion to to issue such a ruling.
The Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, President of the North Carolina NAACP, which initiated the court challenge, said that:
“We are delighted that the acts of the previous majority, which came to power through the use of racially discriminatory maps, have been checked. The prior General Assembly’s attempt to use its ill-gotten power to enshrine a racist photo voter ID requirement in the state constitution was particularly egregious, and we applaud the court for invalidating these attempts at unconstitutional overreach.”
Democratic state Senator Jeff Jackson of Mecklenburg County, who had opposed both amendments, put it this way in a statement:
“This is a remarkable ruling and it’s too soon to gauge its prospects on appeal. But, at a minimum, it underscores the obvious need to end the corrupt system of gerrymandering and let the state’s true political voice be heard.”
Needless to say, Republican lawmakers were upset about the ruling. Sen. Ralph Hise attributed it to a judge with “an axe to grind” and made clear the defendants plans to appeal. Stay tuned for further developments.