North Carolina’s activist Supreme Court seems to believe that it’s the law unto itself. One of its dubious decisions on partisan gerrymandering is pending review this fall by the U.S. Supreme Court. But this month the state Justices outdid themselves, ruling 4-3 that unlawful gerrymandering also could be a legal excuse to undo two constitutional provisions that voters strongly approved.
When North Carolina redrew state legislative districts after the 2010 census, it was still under the “preclearance” regime created by the 1965 Voting Rights Act, meaning that the new map was reviewed and given a stamp of approval by the U.S. Justice Department. But in 2015 a group of residents sued, and a federal court ultimately concluded that 28 majority-black districts for the state House and Senate were unconstitutionally gerrymandered by race.