Protesters attends a rally for "Fair Maps" on March 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. The rally was part of the Supreme Court hearings in landmark redistricting cases out of North Carolina and Maryland (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Protesters attends a rally for "Fair Maps" on March 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. The rally was part of the Supreme Court hearings in landmark redistricting cases out of North Carolina and Maryland (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

The GOP’s request for total control is not altogether surprising, as the courts have repeatedly found that North Carolina Republicans have gerrymandered and disenfranchised Black voters in the state with “almost surgical precision.”

North Carolina Republicans are asking the newly GOP-controlled state Supreme Court to throw out decisions from last year on voter ID and redistricting and instead hold new hearings. Opponents argue the effort is a waste of taxpayer dollars that could result in a new wave of gerrymandering and voter suppression laws.

Republican House Speaker Tim Moore posted the court filings on his website on Friday and called on the court to reverse its previous decisions, even though doing so could disenfranchise Black voters across North Carolina. 

In December, the court struck down a voter ID law, ruling that Republicans acted unconstitutionally to diminish Democratic voters’ power by passing a law that intentionally discriminated against Black voters. 

Earlier in the year, the court declared that the Republican-drawn district lines for Congress and its General Assembly were engineered to help Republicans maintain power in a competitive state and violated the state constitution. As a result, the legislature had to redraw state House, state Senate, and congressional district maps last year. The final congressional map used in the November midterm elections were drawn by independent redistricting experts overseen by three Superior Court judges.

The court also struck down Republicans’ replacement state Senate map as unlawful in December, ordering the legislature to redraw it again this year.  

But those rulings came from a court where four out of the seven justices were Democrats. Moore is asking the new court—which is now 5-2 in favor of Republicans following the November elections—to hold new hearings. 

North Carolina Republicans claim that partisan redistricting is beyond the jurisdiction of state courts, effectively arguing that the state legislature should have complete authority to determine district maps, with no checks or balances. 

The GOP’s request for total control is not altogether surprising, as the courts have repeatedly found that North Carolina Republicans have gerrymandered and disenfranchised Black voters in the state with “almost surgical precision.”

Moore’s efforts drew criticism from pro-democracy advocates in North Carolina.

“Self-serving politicians are desperately trying to undermine the state Supreme Court’s landmark ruling against discriminatory gerrymandering. Partisan legislators want to claw power away from the people of North Carolina and go back to illegally manipulating our voting districts,” Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina said in a statement. “Enough. Politicians in the legislature should stop wasting taxpayers’ money in pursuit of unconstitutional power grabs. It’s time for lawmakers to follow the law.” 

Meanwhile, Jeff Loperfido, interim chief counsel of Voting Rights at the Southern Coalition, blasted Republicans’ efforts to suppress the votes of Black North Carolinians.

“This petition is another example of legislative leadership stopping at nothing to infringe on the right of African Americans to vote freely in North Carolina,” Loperfido said in a statement. “We’re disappointed that lawmakers would choose to waste time rehashing arguments that were rejected by the Court mere weeks ago rather than doing the work of passing a voter photo ID that passes constitutional muster.”