Oral Arguments at NC Supreme Court Monday, February 14th in NC NAACP v. Moore: Racially Gerrymandered Legislature in 2018 Did Not Have Authority to Change NC’s Constitution
RALEIGH, N.C. – Just over a week after the N.C. Supreme Court held that the N.C. General Assembly once again engaged in unconstitutional redistricting in 2021 (Supreme Court Order), oral arguments will take place virtually before the Court on Monday, February 14th in the ongoing NC NAACP v. Moore case, challenging the illegally gerrymandered legislature’s authority to propose amendments to North Carolina’s Constitution.
This case began in 2018, when the N.C. NAACP challenged two constitutional amendment ballot questions – one imposing a photo ID requirement to vote and one lowering the state income tax cap – on the grounds that the North Carolina legislature was only able to achieve the constitutionally required supermajority by drawing from racially gerrymandered districts. In 2017, the districts were deemed not only unconstitutional, but also one of the largest racial gerrymanders ever encountered by a federal court. However, before remedial elections took place, the legislators rushed to use their unconstitutional power to place amendments on the ballot to change the state’s Constitution. Without the illegal racial gerrymandering, the legislature could not have met the constitutionally-required threshold to propose any of these Constitutional Amendments.
In 2019, a Wake County Superior Court judge ruled for the N.C. NAACP and declared the amendments void (Superior Court Order). That ruling was overturned in a two to one decision of the N.C. Court of Appeals, which brought the matter to the Supreme Court. A timeline of the case to date can be found here, and a brief timeline outlining recent challenges to North Carolina’s discriminatory photo voter ID laws can be found here. The N.C. NAACP is represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, Forward Justice, and Attorney Irving Joyner in this matter.
Kym Hunter, Senior Attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center will present arguments on behalf of the Plaintiff-Petitioners. Ms. Hunter explained, “Our Constitution gives voice to everything we hold dear as a State – a free democracy, fair elections, and a respect for all North Carolina citizens- not just those who hold a political majority. It is essential that the Supreme Court take up its rightful role to protect this foundational document and ensure it can endure free from political abuse, as it has throughout our State’s history.”
NC NAACP President Deborah Maxwell, explained, “For over a hundred years the NAACP has fought to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of all citizens. The State Conference of the NAACP brought this case before the amendments were placed on the ballot to vindicate the rights of all North Carolinians. We are pleased that the NC Supreme Court will hear our full case and the voice of the people on Monday in our long fight for a just and equal democracy.”
Caitlin Swain, Co-director of Forward Justice reflected on the importance of the case being heard at this time: “The NC General Assembly forfeited their claim to popular sovereignty when they drew illegal maps that racially segregated voters and diminished the political voice of African Americans. Under North Carolina law, those illegal actions have consequences on the Legislature’s ability to change the foundational legal document of the state after they have engaged in a widespread violation of the law. Our Constitution protects the rights of the people against these abuses, and we are proud to represent those interests before the Court.”
What: NC NAACP v. Moore Oral Arguments
When: Monday, February 14th, 2022 at 9:30am EST
Where: Arguments can be livestreamed here
About the N.C. NAACP
Founded in 1939, the NC NAACP is part of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its branches throughout North Carolina are premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and discrimination. www.naacpnc.org
About Forward Justice
Forward Justice is a nonpartisan law, policy and strategy center dedicated to advancing racial, social, and economic justice in the U.S. South. Our work catalyzes success for social movements and expands opportunities for people affected by injustice. www.ForwardJustice.org