Loading...
BYH to those who make socialism a dirty word. You do know that Social Security and Medicare are examples of socialism....

Redistricting panel needed, court ruling or not

Supreme Court Kavanaugh

Police office guards the main entrance to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., in October.

Loading…

Friday, January 11, 2019

When North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders have seen their work struck down in court as unconstitutional — as they have many times — they have frequently responded by attacking the judge or judges as partisan hacks.

That approach won’t work if the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court surprises the nation by throwing out the congressional district map that N.C. legislators explicitly drew to elect as many Republicans as possible.

The court on Friday agreed to hear a challenge to the North Carolina map, as well as one to a Maryland congressional district. That was big news, because while the court has addressed racial gerrymandering, it has never ruled on whether partisan gerrymandering can be unconstitutional. In taking these cases, the court could for the first time establish whether crafting districts to help one party over the other is permissible.

Despite the odds, we and most N.C. voters hope the court does away with the practice or severely limits it. North Carolina’s leaders acknowledge that they drew the lines to ensure that 10 Republicans were elected to the state’s 13 congressional seats. Rep. David Lewis said they did so “because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.”

Such an approach is the height of hubris and an insult to voters, whichever party is in charge. It essentially robs millions of voters of their voice, since the outcome is preordained. In a more narrow legal sense, it also could violate the First Amendment right to association, as now-retired Justice Anthony Kennedy argued in 2004. Democracy requires people to join together to advance their political beliefs. So when a state makes that nearly impossible, “First Amendment concerns arise.”

Long ago Senate president pro tem Phil Berger, a Republican, co-sponsored five bills over eight years to create independent redistricting commissions. Now that his party is in the majority, he sees no need for change.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to be optimistic about the Supreme Court’s view of the N.C. case (which is called Rucho vs. Common Cause). The conservative justices are not inclined to think the courts should meddle in states’ political affairs. When the moderate Kennedy was on the court, there was a chance he could side with the court’s four liberals. His replacement, Brett Kavanaugh, has not ruled on partisan gerrymandering cases before, but there’s little reason to think he would break with his fellow conservatives in this case. Given his clear partisan leanings revealed in his confirmation hearings, it’s almost certain he won’t.

The court, which will hear arguments in March and likely rule by June, will decide only if partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional. It will not rule on whether it’s a wise practice that benefits this country. Clearly it’s not and it doesn’t. North Carolina should follow the lead of several other states that have created independent commissions, with legislative input, to draw maps.

Only then will political seats be won the old-fashioned way: By convincing voters you are the best candidate, on a level playing field.

The Charlotte Observer

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

March 19, 2019

The indictment of dozens of wealthy parents, including several Hollywood actresses and business leaders, along with the top college athletic coaches they allegedly bribed, tells a shocking story of corruption and deception in college admissions. If the charges are true, these privileged but…

College Admissions Bribery

March 19, 2019

There is no other way to put this: Arming teachers in North Carolina classrooms is as bone-headed an idea this year as it was last year. And the year before.

Small wonder a number of public school teachers have expressed fierce opposition to a pair of bills in the General Assembly that would do…

021019teachers05

March 16, 2019

To recklessly throw around claims of voting fraud is to play a dangerous game that could do lasting harm to our democracy.

Yet politicians from the White House to the local level are indulging in that game more and more. Social media and casual conversation cheer them on.

NPR pointed out a recent…

Election 2018-North Carolina

March 12, 2019

Body-worn cameras were supposed to serve as a silent witness in confrontations between police and civilians and usher in a new era of public confidence in law enforcement through transparency.

As a Thursday hearing in Nash County Superior Court shows, we’re failing on both fronts.…

Bailey.jpg.jpg

March 11, 2019

Gary Martin was exactly the kind of person that gun control background checks — a federal system now 25 years old — was designed to catch.

It failed. Again.

In Mississippi in 1994, Martin stabbed his girlfriend with a kitchen knife, beat her with a baseball bat, and warned “we are…

Gun Laws Domestic Abuse Q And A

March 05, 2019

Could the president known for his turbulent relationship with the media and strident criticism of negative news stories become a free-speech savior?

In a bombshell pledge during a two-hour speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, President Donald Trump said he’d put…

March 04, 2019

Placing police officers in more of North Carolina’s public schools could be a positive step toward increasing school safety — if it’s done the right way.

The school safety committee formed by Gov. Roy Cooper after the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last February has…

Gun Violence Cooper

March 02, 2019

Whether he’s a big believer in the Constitution or just terrified of a President Bernie Sanders with unchecked power, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis got it right last week on President Trump’s so-called national emergency at the Mexican border.

North Carolina’s junior senator split from…

Trump Border Security

March 01, 2019

The Washington Post

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s Wednesday hearing before the House Oversight Committee was explosive not for what was new — but, depressingly, what was not new to anyone watching this administration with clear eyes. The takeaway: President Trump is a liar with a…

Trump Lawyer Investigation Congress-2

February 27, 2019

Measles outbreaks continue to lacerate communities from coast to coast, and there’s absolutely no reason for it. The latest involve dozens of new cases in New York and in Clark County, Washington, across the Columbia River from Portland.

These shouldn’t be happening. The highly…

061214measles1_1.jpg
80 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 8
        Next Page»   Last Page»