by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
November 4, 2021
RALEIGH – North Carolina’s leading voices for constitutional government, election integrity, and the rule of law have filed an amicus brief in NAACP v. Moore, urging the North Carolina Supreme Court to reject an effort to render moot the 5,470,066 votes cast for two justices in the 2020 election.
The brief outlines the legal grounds for denying the North Carolina NAACP’s motion that the high court remove two of its elected Republican colleagues – Tamara Barringer and Phil Berger Jr. – from ruling in a case about voter ID and a cap on the state income tax rate.
If the court approves the motion, at least 2.7 million voters would be disenfranchised.
The brief was filed in the North Carolina Supreme Court today. It was written by Jeanette Doran, president of the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law. The Supreme Court has given parties in the case until today to respond to a court briefing order that consists of questions indicating the court is seriously considering the NAACP’s motion for forced recusal.
NAACP v. Moore stems from the 2018 election, when North Carolina voters passed, with 55% approval, a constitutional amendment to require photo ID to vote, as well as an amendment to lower the state’s cap on income tax rates. The tax cap amendment passed with 57% approval. In response, the NAACP sued. With twists and turns, the suit made its way through the legal system and now sits with the state Supreme Court.
“A forced recusal of either Justice would be a repudiation of the constitutional right of the qualified voters of the State to elect justices,” writes Doran. “It would be a slap in the face of voters who took time to educate themselves about the candidates and to participate in the electoral process. It would discourage voter participation in future elections, especially judicial elections.”
The North Carolina Supreme Court is a seven-member elected body, with Democrats holding a 4-3 partisan advantage. By eliminating Barringer and Berger from deliberations, Democrats would hold a 4-1 advantage from which to decide on voter ID and the tax cap.
“Not only is the NAACP’s motion a threat to voter rights, it is an overtly partisan political move designed to achieve in court what the NAACP and its allies failed to convince voters to do at the ballot box: give Democrats a broad majority on the Supreme Court,” said Locke CEO Amy Cooke. “Integrity of the vote is sacred, and we urge the justices to defend this fundamental principle of a representative democracy.”
Read the amicus brief here.
For more information, contact:
President, North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation