A North Carolina judge’s ruling that two constitutional amendments should be struck down due to gerrymandering has drawn widespread criticism — even among Democrats.
Wake County Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins invalidated two new amendments — which capped North Carolina’s income taxes at 7% and required voter ID — in the bombshell ruling last week. While these amendments were approved by voters statewide, his argument basically was that because of gerrymandering, the General Assembly was an illegal body with restricted powers.
Because the state legislature was “illegally constituted,” it did not have standing to pass the bills that put the amendments on the ballot.
However, Judge Collins further said that the legislature could still pass “necessary” laws like the
annual budget — just “discretionary” laws were impermissible.
It’s mostly that head-scratching distinction that drew disagreement from a prominent Senate Democrat on Monday. Sen. Jeff Jackson, a former assistant district attorney from Charlotte, wrote on Twitter that while he agrees that North Carolina is destructively gerrymandered, that doesn’t support the judge’s ruling.
If you’re going to invalidate constitutional amendments, Jackson argues, you need to invalidate all types of laws — and that’s not a “viable” solution.
“The ruling itself is unworkable,” Sen. Jackson writes. “Even though it is probably in my political interest to embrace this ruling, I can’t. I don’t believe the ends justify the means and in this case the means would be establishing a bad legal precedent.”