I watch in amazement as Democrats repeatedly dare voters to fire them.
On Friday, the North Carolina Supreme Court’s four Democrats — Anita Earls, Robin Hudson, Jimmy Ervin, and Mike Morgan — declared that when perpetual districting litigation leads to a decision that districts must be redrawn, the people of the state lose power to amend their constitution. Let that sink in.
In 2018, North Carolinians cast more than four million votes for constitutional amendments for voter ID and a state income tax cap, passing each by a 10-point margin. But after a four-year litigation slog, the all-Democrat majority sent those amendments back to a leftist trial judge for a preordained decision to strike them down. Why? Democracy!
Follow the Kafkaesque reasoning. Amending the state constitution begins with the General Assembly voting to place amendments on the ballot. In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a decision that the districting plan in place since 2011 was unconstitutional. In advance of the 2018 election using corrected districts, the legislature placed several constitutional amendments on the ballot, including voter ID and the tax cap.
The Democrat judges held that because the legislature proposed these amendments under a cloud, its power to do so was impaired. But what of the fact that the voters overwhelmingly approved the voter ID and tax cap amendments, wasn’t that ratification by the people? Despite “some superficial appeal,” the Democrats said, that argument is “misguided” because legislative gatekeeping is needed to keep the people from amending the constitution “rashly” or on a “whim.”
So given the choice, the Democrat judges nullified the people’s power of self-government entirely rather than risk its rash or whimsical exercise. And given the constancy of districting litigation — of which there has been no pause for 11 years — who knows when the people can again be assured that this most foundational right is restored? Mouthing ironic allegiance to the constitutional canon that “[a]ll political power is vested in and derived from the people” and that “[t]he people of this State have the inherent, sole, and exclusive right of … altering or abolishing their Constitution and form of government,” the Democrat judges concluded that they had to destroy the people’s sovereignty in order to save it.
No court in the country has done anything of the kind. The Democrat judges repudiated their own precedent that held the 1930s General Assembly’s authority undiminished by malapportionment. Republican justices noted that that legislature successfully proposed nine constitutional amendments and that legislatures holding office under invalidated districting plans in 1965, 1984, and 2008 (all Democrat) did likewise. Every court has rejected this attack on legislative authority, recognizing it as a recipe for chaos. Democrats embrace it on a party-line vote to slake their thirst for eroding (Republican) legislative power but with the effect of tyrannizing the people themselves.
That’s quite a piece of work 81 days before an election. Two of those Democrat seats are on the ballot. I wonder if voters will remember.
Dan Bishop is a conservative representing North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.