WHY NC GOP HAS CONFIDENCE
THAT U.S. SUPREME COURT MAY
OVERTURN NC HIGH COURT
ON REDISTRICTING CASE
By Cash Michaels
What does how Alabama redistricted its Black voters have to do with how North Carolina Republicans redistricted ours?
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court surprised many by putting on hold a lower federal court ruling that Alabama should have two congressional districts where African-Americans can elect a candidate of their choice, instead of the one that was originally drawn.
By overruling the lower federal court, many believe the U.S. Supreme Court kicked dirt onto the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and will do so again.
North Carolina Republican legislative leaders applauded that U.S. Supreme Court ruling as giving them hope in their current battle with the Democrat-led NC Supreme Court, with NC House Speaker Tim Moore saying that it “emboldened our case.”
And that’s why state Republicans have now gone to the 6-3 conservative majority U.S. Supreme Court to overrule the state Democratic Supreme Court majority.
On February 25th, state Republican legislative leaders formally asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the NC High Court’s 4-3 ruling that struck down the GOP-led NC legislature’s partisan legislative and congressional voting maps as unconstitutional. In their emergency filing, Republican leaders also asked that a new congressional map drawn under the auspices of a Republican majority lower court’s special masters be blocked while their appeal is being considered.
The three-judge lower court accepted the legislature’s redrawn legislative maps as meeting the fairness standards set by the Democratic majority of the NC Supreme Court, along with it’s newly redrawn special masters congressional map.
Candidate filing was resumed February 24th under those new maps for the May 17th primaries.
But in their emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, Republicans made it clear that under the U.S. Constitution, only the state legislature is empowered to make redistricting decisions, not the state courts. The NC Supreme Court and lower court were undermining the state legislature’s authority, Republicans claimed.
The Republicans wanedt their original maps, the ones opponents claim undermine, if not eliminate, several Black Democrat incumbents , reinstalled immediately so that the May 17, 2022 primaries can commence, and the November 2022 elections can be conducted.
Democrats, obviously, don’t want that.
Chief Justice John Roberts asked the Democrat plaintiffs in the lawsuit to respond by Wednesday to the Republican request.
So Speaker Moore and other GOP leaders are very hopeful that, based on the Alabama redistricting case, the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court will rule their way.
At least one African-American legal expert is leery that they might, even though in 2019, the Supreme Court backed out of a North Carolina partisan redistricting case, saying that federal courts have no role, only state courts.
“Typically, the US Supreme Court can’t over-rule a State decision which is based solely on state law as was this NC redistricting decision, but you never know what this new conservative Court will do,” says NCCU Law Professor Irv Joyner. “These are not normal times and formerly accepted rules are being challenged and changed. All of this will mean more litigation and scheming by the General Assembly leaders.”
Submit a case where racial gerrymandering is alleged, and the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, will deal with. But allege partisan gerrymandering, and federal courts are supposed to toss it back to the state courts per a June, 2019 U.S. Supreme Court decision. So the question is, will this 6-3 conservative U.S. Supreme Court follow its own rule?
Republicans certainly hope not.
WHEN IT COMES TO
WILL GOP TREAT JUDGE
KETANJI BROWN JACKSON?
By Cash Michaels
President Joe Biden has kept one of his biggest campaign promises, and some Republicans want him to regret it.
On February 25th, Pres. Biden announced his African-American female choice for the U.S. Supreme Court. He formally nominated 51-year-old Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the nation’s highest court, replacing the outgoing liberal Associate Justice Stephen Breyer.
Breyer, 83, announced that he will retire from the nine-member court this summer.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Judge Jackson, a Washington, D.C. native who currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, will become the first African-American woman in the 233-year history of the High Court to serve.
But her nomination has to pass muster with the Senate Judiciary Committee, and ultimately the U.S. Senate first.
Given that Judge Jackson has already been confirmed by this Senate in June 2021 for her current post, 53-44, with three Republicans - senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Lindsay Graham of South Carolina - voting for her , one would expect that there wouldn’t be much problem when new Senate confirmation hearings get underway shortly.
But this is an election year, and national politics have become even more toxic and divisive than ever before. Republicans may not be able to stop Judge Jackson’s confirmation in the Senate, thanks to the 50-50 split with the Democrats, plus the tie-breaker from Vice Pres. Kamala Harris (one Democratic senator is still recovering from a stroke however, and there are hopes that he can recover in time to cast his vote), but some GOP’ers have already begun to try to label Jackson as a “radical liberal” enough to scare off any moderate Republicans, like Sen. Murkowski, who is up for re-election now, from supporting her.
Murkowski has already signaled that she is wavering on her vote.
Sen. Graham has already smeared Judge Jackson saying that she is a product of the “radical left”, even though he voted to confirm her earlier. His choice for confirmation was ignored by Biden, plus Graham is seen as still angry with how Democrats treated Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings several years ago.
Other Republicans, like Sen. Ted Cruz (R- Tx) lambasted Pres. Biden for holding to his pledge to choose a Black woman for the high bench.
"The fact that he's willing to make a promise at the outset, that it must be a Black woman, I gotta say that's offensive,” Cruz said on his podcast. “ You know, Black women are what, 6% of the US population? He's saying to 94% of Americans, 'I don't give a damn about you, you are ineligible.”
Still, some Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, like ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have pledged to treat Judge Jackson with “respect and civility.’
North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis echoed that sentiment, saying,” I will treat Judge Jackson with fairness and civility, a basic standard of decency that many Democrats appallingly refused to extend to the Supreme Court nominees under the previous administration.”
The U.S. House does not vote on the president’s judicial nominees, But that didn’t stop two of North Carolina’s five congressional Democrats from weighing in.
“Ketanji Brown Jackson is an eminent legal mind, a respected jurist a trailblazer and a supremely qualified pick for our highest court,” said Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) in a statement. “In addition to her service as both a federal district judge and now a circuit court judge, her deep insight into criminal justice as a public defender and a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission is an important asset at this moment in our history.”
And Rep. G. K. Butterfield, himself a former member of the NC Supreme Court, joined those in the progressive movement who staunchly back Judge Jackson.
“I am confident Judge Jackson will be a worthy replacement [for Justice Stephen Breyer] to preserve the Supreme Court’s vital role as a defender of our rights and freedoms,” Butterfield said in a statement.
“I look forward to Judge Jackson receiving a fair and swift confirmation process."
Judge Jackson’s confirmation process is expected to continue through March, with a Senate vote in mid to late April. If confirmed, she will take her place on a court where conservative justices outnumber liberals, 6-3.