Executive Director says it’s the worst case of judicial tyranny since the decision to overthrow state’s marriage amendment
By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
December 2, 2016
Tuesday, a federal court ordered the North Carolina General Assembly to redraw 28 state House and Senate districts, and hold a special election in 2017. The three judge panel said that the districts were racially gerrymandered, and, therefore unconstitutional.
The ruling follows a decision handed down in August, when the same panel, U.S. Circuit Judge Jim Wynn and District Judges Catherine Eagles and Thomas Schroeder, declared the current legislative maps relied too heavily on race when district lines were drawn. The decision at that time required new legislative lines for 2017, but allowed the 2016 election to continue under the old maps.
The decision on Tuesday, however, ordered that not only must the current district lines be re-drawn by March 15, 2017, but the state must hold a special election in 2017. The effect would shorten the current term of every legislator whose district is altered from two years to one year.
The districts the court ruled unconstitutional in the House included, 5, 7, 12, 21, 24, 29, 31, 32, 33, 38, 42, 43, 48, 57, 58, 60, 99, 102, as well as 107. Those ruled unconstitutional in the Senate included, 4, 5, 14, 20, 21, 28, 32, 38, and 40.
Chairmen of the House and Senate Redistricting Committees, Rep. David Lewis (R – Harnett) and Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg), released a joint statement blasting the order, saying:
“This politically-motivated decision, which would effectively undo the will of millions of North Carolinians just days after they cast their ballots, is a gross overreach that blatantly disregards the constitutional guarantee for voters to duly elect their legislators to biennial terms. We continue to believe the maps drawn by the General Assembly, pre-cleared by the Obama Justice Department and twice upheld by our state’s elected Supreme Court are constitutional, and we will move quickly to appeal.”
With their statement was the following background information:
“The legislative maps drawn by the General Assembly in 2011 received pre-clearance from President Obama’s Justice Department. Since then, while special interest groups unhappy that more Democrats weren’t elected have filed duplicative lawsuits in multiple courts to challenge the maps, they have been upheld in three out of four court decisions – including a majority-Democrat panel which unanimously found that ‘the Enacted Plans do not impair the constitutional rights of the citizens of North Carolina as those rights are defined by law.’
“Article II of the North Carolina State Constitution specifies that members of the N.C. Senate and N.C. House of Representatives shall be elected by the people to serve two-year terms.”
The Associated Press noted in their reporting on the court’s ruling that “[i]n an earlier legal brief, attorneys for Lewis and Rucho said the General Assembly likely would have to redraw 116 districts because lines in surrounding districts must change too. Having a special election under updated boundaries could also give Democrats an earlier opportunity to try to end the veto-proof majorities Republicans have held in the House and Senate since 2013.”
The Plaintiffs in the lawsuit were represented by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. Civitas Institute describes the Durham-based group as “an extreme radical left-wing group that promotes community organizing to effect economic, social and political change.”
Civitas also says that the George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society donated nearly $1 million to the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, which also helps fund the organization, gave more than $2.5 million to homosexual activist groups like Equality N.C., the Campaign for Southern Equality, and abortionist organizations such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL.
Executive Director of Equality NC, Chris Sgro, lauded the court’s decision, saying it provided an unprecedented opportunity for the LGBT community.
“That means an opportunity to solidly take back all three branches of government in North Carolina with pro-equality elected officials,” said Sgro. “That means a way for national progressives to show the whole country what we really stand for – starting right now in the South. That means our best chance yet at the repeal of HB2.”
Rep. Dean Arp (R), who represents the 69th District, however, said in a Facebook post to his constituents that the court’s ruling was “crazy…judicial activism.”
“I am so thankful and grateful to be your NC House Representative for District 69 for the next two years. However, a federal judge has said I cannot serve the full two year term you have elected me to serve and I have to stand for another election in about six months – taking your vote and voice away,” wrote Arp.
Arp added, “A Federal Judge should not play politics and enter into the State elections simply because they don’t like the outcome of the election… A Federal judge should not have the right to simply cut short a duly elected State Representative’s or Senator’s term of office… What’s next? Imagine if this same judge says ‘I think President Trump should not be allowed to serve the full four year term he was elected to but must stand for another election next year.’ Do you think that Federal judge should have the power to do that and order another election?”
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said the decision was outrageous. “I have not seen a worse case of judicial tyranny since five rogue judges on the U.S. Supreme Court circumvented the vote of more than 30 states concerning the definition of marriage,” he said. “I suggest the federal court’s today present a similar tyranny that aroused Americans to revolt against England in 1776. This ‘government of the people, by the people, and for the people,’ has been hijacked by the courts. This is ‘transformation without representation,’ they are changing everything socially, economically, even our elections, etc., without our consent. Freedom cannot survive if this continues.”
The decision by the court on Tuesday comes about a week before the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a similar case involving North Carolina’s Congressional districts.