The NC Supreme Court was certainly digging to find reasons to reject the lower court’s ruling on the NC General Assembly’s redistricting maps.

One of the questions directed at the NCGA’s counsel that stood out to me came from Associate Justice Anita Earls when she was basically advocating for proportionality among political parties. She used the hypothetical of the NCGA making a law that individuals could only give up to $5,000 to Republican candidates and $2,000 to Democratic candidates as a rebuttal to the NCGA’s counsel position that discrimination against political affiliation cannot be a standard subject to judicial review.

The NCGA’s counsel took the position that voting rights laws protect individual rights and not group rights. Justice Earls seems to lean on the position that voting laws seem to protect group rights and political parties fall under the same consideration, viz. one can’t discriminate against race, so why not say the same is true about political parties.

The first major problem with this perspective is that it sets proportionality as a standard of political fairness in map-making. This question of political fairness is beyond the scope of the courts to decide. Additionally, we heard from the plaintiffs that proportionality is not part of their contention. Thus, the court would be introducing a contention that the plaintiffs are not making.

The second issue with this line of reasoning is its broad implications. Racial groupings and political groupings can’t be considered the same because 1) political affiliation is not an immutable category, and 2) political affiliation is inherently discriminatory against an opposing political ideology.

If one were to take Justice Earls consideration seriously, the courts would have to consider whether the Libertarian Party should have a district carved out for its political affiliates. This would naturally take the court down a rabbit hole for which it could not find its way out or back to the surface. Moreover, how can the court only justify proportional accommodations to Democrats but not Libertarians by forcing the NCGA to redraw the maps to be more favorable towards Democrats? There are other political parties in our state.

In a healthy democracy, we want political discrimination in place of having no political party. This way, parties can correct course if a public majority does not like their policy direction. Accordingly, we want the public to be discriminatory to political parties, and we don’t want courts forcing equal distribution of party representation.

Still, should there be public debate about what constitutes fair political districts? Absolutely. I have my grievances about the current process regarding its philosophical axiom from which it builds upon. But I don’t see a better argument from the political left about how to change it. They are merely complaining about the lack of seats in the state House and Senate and the U.S. House. I can honestly care less. They are not approaching the matter out of principle but rather out of a desire for power. Case and point: You will never hear a Democrat argue for more Republican and Libertarian representation in Wake, Durham, or Orange County. So, it seems Democrats want to play realpolitik when it works for them and whine like irrational children when it doesn’t.

Joshua Peters is a philosopher and social critic from Raleigh, NC. His academic background is in western philosophy, STEM, and financial analysis. Joshua studied at North Carolina State University (BS) and UNC Charlotte (MS). He is a graduate of the E.A. Morris Fellowship for Emerging Leaders.