Four days after HL 36, titled “SCOTUS Refusal to Review North Carolina Voter Suppression Case Speaks Volumes” explained the real (and otherwise unreported) reason the Supreme Court declined to review the Fourth Circuit’s nullification of voting restrictions that “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision” the Court ruled unconstitutional North Carolina’s creation of two Congressional districts. The lines had been drawn to intentionally dilute the ability of African-Americans to elect candidates of their choice. North Carolina did this by packing as many blacks as possible into the two newly drawn districts and thereby reducing minority voting power in other adjacent districts.
The Court’s latest action in Cooper v. Harris came exactly one week after its denial of certiorari in the earlier case, North Carolina v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, where the Court declined to review not for the reasons disingenuously stated by Chief Justice Roberts but because the Court’s conservative bloc recognized the tragic error and consequence of their 2013 nullification of the pre-clearance provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder. Their rationale in Shelby County had been that in 1965 suppression of the African-American vote was “an insidious and pervasive evil which had been perpetuated in certain parts of our country through unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution” but “[t]here is no denying, however, that the conditions that originally justified these measures no longer characterize voting in the covered jurisdictions.”
And at the same moment the Court pondered North Carolina’s immediate and reflexive racist response to Shelby County, the state’s racial gerrymandering poured additional salt on the flaws in their understanding of contemporary America and their consciences – even that of Justice Clarence Thomas. He has been the justice most resistant to recognizing and imposing sanctions for government racism – that is other than racism he perceives directed at him. Justice Thomas referred to his U.S. Senate confirmation hearings as a “high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves.”
And for North Carolina the hits will just keep on coming, as SCOTUS will soon take up yet another case involving a United States District Court ruling that the lines of North Carolina’s General Assembly districts have also been racially gerrymandered.
North Carolina’s legislature has exhibited equal opportunity bigotry, extending discrimination into the LGBTQ world, with its infamous “bathroom bill” targeting transgender kids. After the NCAA boycotted the basketball-crazed Tar Heel State, the legislature enacted a half-loaf repeal that caused the athletic conference to quickly back off. The new law did not satisfy LGBTQ rights groups or the editorial board at Hopelessly Liberal. We wonder why an athletic organization so dependent on the talent of black scholar – athletes is so deferential to North Carolina’s intentions and discretion given the recent record of racism. But that is an HL post for another day.