Liberal judge tosses out North Carolina voter-approved mandatory photo ID amendment. NAACP is ‘delighted.’

Two amendments already approved by voters to the North Carolina Constitution have been tossed by a liberal judge citing gerrymandering in the state’s General Assembly.

Voter-approved amendments that passed in November mandated that voters present photo identification at polling stations and another presented a cap on the state income tax rate, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

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Wake County Superior Court Judge G. Bryan Collins noted that the North Carolina General Assembly is so gerrymandered that it has no place representing the people of the state or introducing legislation to amend its constitution.

“An illegally constituted General Assembly does not represent the people of North Carolina and is therefore not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s constitution,” Collins wrote in a ruling issued Friday.

He argued that the amendments were not valid from the outset as they each passed the General Assembly just barely over the required three-fifths majority. The voter ID amendment passed with 55.5 percent of the vote.

“The unconstitutional racial gerrymander tainted the three-fifths majorities required by the state Constitution before an amendment proposal can be submitted to the people for a vote, breaking the requisite chain of popular sovereignty between North Carolina citizens and their representatives,” Collins wrote in the case brought by North Carolina’s chapter of the NAACP.

According to the Raleigh News & Observer:

When the legislature wrote the amendments and voted to place them on the 2018 ballot, many of the members who voted to do so had been elected under district lines that were ruled unconstitutional because they had been drawn to dilute the political power of African-American voters.

 

The NAACP chapter celebrated the judge’s decision in a press release.

“We are delighted that the acts of the previous majority, which came to power through the use of racially discriminatory maps, have been checked,” N.C. NAACP president Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman said.

“The prior General Assembly’s attempt to use its ill-gotten power to enshrine a racist photo voter ID requirement in the state constitution was particularly egregious, and we applaud the court for invalidating these attempts at unconstitutional overreach,” he added.

Spearman and Rev. William Barber led protesters into the gallery of the General Assembly during its special session in November.

North Carolina’s GOP chairman slammed the ruling which, he argued, should be overturned.

“These amendments were placed on the ballot and passed by an overwhelming majority of North Carolinians,” Robin Hayes said in a written statement to The News & Observer. “This unprecedented and absurd ruling by a liberal judge is the very definition of judicial activism.”

The state’s General Assembly fired back at the ruling, saying through attorney Martin Warf that “an appeal is absolutely coming.”

“We are duty-bound to appeal this absurd decision. The prospect of invalidating 18 months of laws is the definition of chaos and confusion. Based on tonight’s opinion and others over the past several years, it appears the idea of judicial restraint has completely left the state of North Carolina,” Senate leader Phil Berger said in a statement.

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