Sunday, December 3, 2023

Rep. Bishop Files Lawsuit Over N.C. ‘Secret’ Court Rulings, Alleges Judicial Conflict

'There are no grounds whatsoever for our courts to operate in secret... '

Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., has filed a federal lawsuit suit after a North Carolina secret court issued a decision based on private hearings and private votes regarding a GOP redistricting plan that found against the Republicans, moving election dates, reported the News and Observer.

“It’s breathtaking hypocrisy: judges require legislators to draw maps, debate maps, and vote on new maps in public,” Bishop said. “But they rule on them in the deepest, darkest recesses of the court system.

The Democrat-majority court in North Carolina that ruled on the redistricting and moved election dates took refuge in so-called “conference,” where they can debate a case in private and deliver a ruling without saying what the final vote was or who voted which way, according to the News and Observer. The hustle is also sometimes called using a “shadow docket,” but diabolical Star Chamber might prove a more accurate description.

“No matter which side of the issue you’re on, every North Carolinian has a right to this information and everyone should demand transparency from our judges,” Bishop said. “There are no grounds whatsoever for our courts to operate in secret.”

Bishop, calling for transparency from the courts, singled out North Carolina Justice Jimmy Ervin for “particular concern,” saying that Ervin filled for office and “presumably” voted to close down additional candidate filings so as to protect his candidacy.

Recent polls show Ervin and another Democrat on the bench unlikely to be re-elected.

“With 11 months until the 2022 elections,” said Carolina Journal, “it is nearly impossible to envision a path to re-election for Ervin. Anything is technically possible, but he would have to reverse a double-digit deficit that affects not only him but all Democrats.”

At issue in the lawsuit is a redistricting plan drawn up by the Republican Legislature in North Carolina, which Democrats fear will tilt elections towards the GOP.

The suit by Bishop alleges that the court’s latest decision continues the trend of state and federal courts interfering with elections in North Carolina, “throwing election processes into disarray and confusion.”

“Indeed,” noted the lawsuit, “the 2019 state-court litigation itself reached a resolution on the eve of the scheduled candidate filing, leaving uncertain until then whether the election would proceed and under what maps.”

In part, the dispute is a reflection of the moral panic by Democrats as Republicans continue to control state governments around the country and thus control the redistricting process.

The current composition of the House of Representatives for the North Carolina delegation is eight Republicans against five Democrats for a total of 13 seats. The plan passed by the Republican Legislature would likely give the GOP 10 seats, to 4 for the Democrats.

While there are prohibitions against racially segregated districts, there is no prohibition against what’s popularly known as gerrymandering, which, in the case of North Carolina, is left up to the legislature to redraw the districts every 10 years.

“North Carolina has a long history gerrymandering,” said Spectrum Local News, “drawing maps to basically pick which party will win. Both parties have done it when they’ve been in power. The maps drawn after the last census in 2010 led to a political and legal fight that lasted almost a decade.”

Currently the GOP controls 61 state legislative chambers, versus 37 controlled by the Democrats, according to Ballotpedia.

“A state government trifecta is a term to describe single party government, when one political party holds three positions in a state’s government,” said Ballotpedia. “As of December 23, 2021, there are 23 Republican trifectas, 15 Democratic trifectas, and 12 divided governments where neither party holds trifecta control.”

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