NC Court of Appeals upholds 2 constitutional amendments passed by a racially gerrymandered legislature… #NCGA Young's dissent: "If an unlawfully-formed legislature could indeed amend the Constitution, it could do so to grant itself the veneer of legitimacy"
The lawsuit was filed by @NCNAACP. The legislature passed the amendments after #SCOTUS affirmed that it had been elected in unconstitutionally gerrymandered districts.…
Last year, Judge Brian Collins ruled that the legislature "lost its claim to popular sovereignty" when courts determined that it had been elected in districts that discriminated against Black voters.… This ruling was just overturned.
The court's opinion today says that "it has never been recognized that our judicial branch has the power to deprive the General Assembly of authority ... granted that body by our state constitution."
The NAACP's lawsuit challenges the voter ID amendment and the lower cap on state income taxes. Anytime there's a dissent at the NC Court of Appeals, the case automatically goes to the state supreme court. Judge Bryan's 2019 ruling:…
In their brief last year, the #NCGA Black Caucus noted that past courts had "deployed political-question-type reasoning to reject challenges to state constitutional amendments that disenfranchised African Americans in the Jim Crow South."…
The opinion by Judge Chris Dillon (R) says emphatically that #SCOTUS "recently declared that partisan gerrymandering is legal." He underlined the last four words.
Judge Dillon leans heavily on the fact that voters approved these amendments. He characterizes the plaintiff's arguments as "the people should never have been allowed to vote on the amendments." But the case was about #NCGA's approval, not the voters.
Judge Dillon's history of the Covington racial gerrymandering case is interesting. He says NCGA's "predominant motivation" was "protecting and increasing their new-found partisan advantage; that is, they sought to engage in partisan gerrymandering." But they used race to do it?
Dillon then goes on to describe how #NCGA packed Black voters into a certain number of districts, and he says their "compelling purpose" was "to ensure that their maps would not run afoul of the VRA," citing Covington.
Dillon repeatedly says the federal court in Covington "did not believe that the ...General Assembly lost its legitimacy," when its districts were struck down. But the concurrence notes that the Covington court said #NCGA's authority was an "unsettled question of state law."
Judge Donna Stroud, a registered Republican, lays into the trial court's reasoning in her concurrence. "The trial court's order is not based upon law... There is no North Carolina law to support the trial court's legal conclusions."
Young's dissent emphasizes that the case was limiting to challenging #NCGA's authority to amend the constitution. "Only a legislature formed by the will of the people, representing our population in truth and fact, may...amend or alter the central document of this state's laws."
In a footnote, Young (D) notes that one of the amendments was a voter ID mandate "designed to prevent citizens from unlawfully voting in our elections. And yet, this amendment was proposed by a General Assembly which was, itself, unlawfully formed."
Now @ncnaacp has announced that it will appeal to the NC Supreme Court. Attorney @KymHunteratlaw said that #NCGA’s “attempt to allow a racially gerrymandered supermajority to lock-in their narrow agenda should be forcefully rejected.”

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