by Sam Hieb
In today’s lead editorial, the Charlotte Observer slams Wake County Superior Court Judge G. Bryan Collins’ ruling that struck down two constitutional amendments last fall.
The way I read it, the Observer basically uses the same the logic as JLF chairman John Hood– be careful what you wish for Democrats–you may get it. The Observer writes:
The decision, from Judge G. Bryan Collins, has a simple premise: North Carolina’s General Assembly is the product of districts so gerrymandered that its members don’t truly represent the state’s electorate. Therefore, says Collins, the General Assembly “is not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s constitution.”
It’s a reach of legal logic, a ruling that appears more like progressive fist-pounding than something that should come from the bench. It also prompts a follow-up question: If, as Collins contends, gerrymandering strips the General Assembly of the authority to amend the N.C. constitution, wouldn’t it also render invalid any laws these same legislators pass?
Absolutely true. But Hood takes it a step further—many of the laws passed by the illegally gerrymandered legislature —gasp—benefitted Democrats, too:
The implication of Collins’s theory is that every bill enacted by the General Assembly before the 2018 elections represents an invalid exercise of legislative power. Every tax dollar collected and appropriated by a budget bill, every pay raise for teachers and state employees, every change in civil and criminal law is suspect.
One thing’s for certain, as both the Observer and Hood point out—Judge Collins has handed Republicans “a potent election issue” for the all-too-soon 2020 race.