The rulings were made possible after the court was swung in November from 4-3 Democrat-controlled to 5-2 Republican. The voter ID law, enacted in 2018, had previously been thrown out over claims it unfairly targeted minorities.
“The people of North Carolina overwhelmingly support voter identification and other efforts to promote greater integrity and confidence in our elections. Subjective tests and judicial sleight of hand have systematically thwarted the will of the people and the intent of the legislature,” wrote the court’s Republican majority on the voter ID case.
“But no court exists for the vindication of political interests, and judges exceed constitutional boundaries when they act as a super-legislature,” the decision continued. “Plaintiffs here have failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that S.B. 824 was enacted with discriminatory intent or that the law actually produces a meaningful disparate impact along racial lines.”
The decision on the redistricting maps said that the state’s constitution did not stipulate whether the state legislature could or could not make partisan maps.
“Our constitution expressly assigns the redistricting authority to the General Assembly subject to explicit limitations in the text. Those limitations do not address partisan gerrymandering,” the Republicans wrote.
The redistricting decision could give Republicans an edge in the 2024 congressional elections in the Tar Heel State as the Republican supermajority can now draw the maps for the state.
Both decisions were widely praised by Republicans and decried by Democrats who have long opposed voter ID measures.
“The decisions handed down today by the NC Supreme Court have ensured that our constitution and the will of the people of North Carolina are honored. Nearly five years after the voters of this state overwhelmingly voted in favor of photo ID at the polls, it has finally become the law of the land. We will fulfill our constitutional duty to redraw state house, senate, and congressional maps,” North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore said.
Democrat State Attorney General Josh Stein called the redistricting decision a “blow to democracy.”
“Our constitution is supposed to be a check on the power of the legislature. But these Republican justices have surrendered that role, taking power away from the people and giving it to an out-of-control gerrymandered Republican supermajority in the legislature,” he said.
Another election-related ruling by the court ensured that felons have to complete their probation and parole in order to regain their voting rights, reversing a trial court decision.