Thursday, November 30, 2023

Cooper v. Berger Being Heard Today

The three-judge panel appointed by NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby to hear Governor Roy Cooper's "facial" constitutional challenge of S749 (e.g., "On the face of it, this law violates the constitution of North Carolina"). S749 was the sweeping bill which completely reorganized the administration of elections in North Carolina, ultimately enacted over Cooper's veto. Cooper is claiming the bill is a constitutional breach of the separation of powers and ultimately aims at nothing less than reducing drastically the access to early voting in some (many?) counties because 4-4 county boards of election are almost guaranteed to deadlock, and the existing law sez that when there's no majority on a 4-4 board, then all early voting in that county reverts to the local Board of Elections office and no place else (O my brethren!). The case was scheduled for a first hearing this morning in the Wake County Courthouse.

Carolina Journal reported the names and affiliations of the three judges that Newby picked: Superior Court Judges Edwin Wilson, Lori Hamilton, and Andrew Womble. Wilson is the lone Democrat, appointed by Roy Cooper. Hamilton and Womble are Republicans, and I suspect Newby knows their temperament (if not their temperature) and chose accordingly.

What are the odds for Cooper? Considering that the end-all and be-all of this case, no matter what the 3-judge panel decides, will be Paul Newby Hisownself and the current other four member of the Supreme Court clatch, I ain't holding my breath. The Republicans have bent themselves silly to constantly grab more power, and where they can't just outright bar certain people from voting, they'll make the very administration of voting -- especially early voting -- completely broken. It's American carnage all right.


You could have knocked me over with a dandelion head, but the 3-judge panel ruled unanimously that they sure nuf would like to have a trial over whether S749 violates Governor Cooper's constitutional rights (separation of powers), and in the blessed meantime, here's a temporary injunction on implementation of replacing all boards of elections in every county with boards made up of equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats (the newest Republican scheme to put a curse on voting). With the injunction, the current administration of elections in North Carolina stays the same, which tilts all boards one vote toward the Party of the Governor. Looks like the 3-2 Democratic majority on county boards will remain in place through next March's primary.

No comments: