by Anna Manning
The latest from Carolina Journal on Judge Collins tossing out two constitutional amendments:
A Wake County judge has denied a request to stay his ruling invalidating two voter-approved amendments to the state constitution. In response, the Senate’s top leader promises to seek a stay from the N.C. Court of Appeals.
An order last week from Judge Bryan Collins tossed out constitutional amendments lowering North Carolina’s income tax cap and requiring photo identification from voters. Voters had approved both amendments during the November election.
“All North Carolinians, regardless of party, should be concerned by this lawlessness, because it’s only a matter of time before a judge comes for their preferred legislative policies,” said Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, in an emailed statement. “Judge Collins is calling the legislature a usurper body while himself usurping the will of millions of North Carolinians who voted to amend their own constitution.”
A stay would have put Collins’ ruling on hold while the legal process continues. Now that Collins has denied a motion to issue a stay, “legislative leaders will request [a] stay from [the] Court of Appeals,” according to a news release from Berger’s office.
Collins had ruled Feb. 22 that the amendments had been placed on the November ballot by a General Assembly that had been elected illegally. This “usurper” legislature had taken power after running in unconstitutional legislative districts, according to Collins’ order.
Critics contend that no previous court ever has invalidated the actions of a legislative body because of another court order tossing out that body’s electoral districts.
There’s no word on when the N.C. Court of Appeals might respond to legislative leaders’ request to block Collins’ order.