Lawsuit filed on behalf of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP challenging two amendments to the state constitution: one that requires a photo ID to vote and one that lowers the state income tax. The plaintiffs argue that these amendments were put on the ballot by an unconstitutionally apportioned General Assembly after districts were found to be racially gerrymandered and therefore legislators did not have the authority to propose the amendments. The state trial court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and struck down the challenged amendments, holding that an “illegally constituted General Assembly does not represent the people of North Carolina and is therefore not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s Constitution.” In a 2-1 decision, the state appellate court reversed the trial court, thereby revalidating the amendments, after determining that the trial court “erred in holding that our General Assembly lost its power granted by our state constitution, while retaining other powers, simply because a federal court had determined that the maps contained too many majority-minority districts.” The NC NAACP appealed the appellate court’s decision to the state Supreme Court, which held oral argument on Feb. 14. A recording of the oral argument can be viewed here.
On Aug. 19, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision that North Carolina state legislators who were elected under racially gerrymandered districts do not possess unlimited authority to amend the North Carolina Constitution. However, this decision did not overturn the two challenged amendments at issue in the lawsuit. Rather, the North Carolina Supreme Court remanded the case back down to the trial court with specific instructions for deciding whether the challenged amendments should be “retroactively invalidated.” Litigation is ongoing in the trial court.
Case Documents (trial court)
Case Documents (NC Court of appeals)
Case Documents (Nc supreme court)