In North Carolina, GOP Scores Big Court Wins

Rulings may give Republicans an edge in next congressional elections
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 28, 2023 5:00 PM CDT
North Carolina Court Lets GOP Redraw US House Districts
A lawmaker studies a district map during a redistricting meeting in Raleigh, N.C., in 2017.   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

In massive victories for Republicans, the North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday threw out a previous ruling against gerrymandered voting maps and upheld a photo voter identification law that colleagues had struck down as racially biased. The rulings likely give the GOP-controlled legislature the ability to rework the state's congressional map for next year's election to help Republicans gain seats in the narrowly divided US House. Under the previous map, Democrats won seven of the state's 14 congressional seats last November. The court became a Republican majority this year with the election of two GOP justices, the AP reports.

The new edition of the court then took the unusual step of revisiting opinions issued in December by the court's previous iteration, when Democrats held a 4-3 seat advantage. Rehearings were held in March. Friday's 5-2 rulings also mean that state lawmakers should have greater latitude in drawing General Assembly seat boundaries for the next decade, and that a photo ID mandate approved by the GOP-controlled legislature in late 2018 could be enforced in time for the 2024 elections.

In another decision Friday along party lines, the justices overturned a trial court decision on when the voting rights of convicted felons can be restored. That means potentially tens of thousands of people convicted of felonies will have to keep waiting to completed their probation or parole or pay their fines to qualify to vote again. (More redistricting stories.)

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