National Republican groups back SCOTUS legislative appeal

Ronna McDaniel, the GOP chairwoman, speaks during the Republican National Committee winter meeting Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

RALEIGH — A pair of national Republican groups submitted briefs backing the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of North Carolina’s court-drawn congressional map, arguing the remedial map passed the state legislature should be used for the state’s 2022 election. 

The first, a joint effort between the Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), and NCGOP (North Carolina Republican Party), argues that North Carolina state courts exceeded their authority by implementing their own maps when the power to draw congressional districts is vested with the state legislature by the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution. 

“The N.C. Supreme Court’s decision to tread over the work of the state’s legislature was motivated by the court’s assessment of social science offerings that, when placed under any modicum of scrutiny, do not, and cannot, show that North Carolina’s congressional districts “were intentionally constructed to yield a consistent partisan advantage for Republicans,” part of the brief states.

A separate brief, filed by the National Republican Redistricting Trust (NRRT), argues that granting a stay of the court-drawn interim map will allow the people of North Carolina to operate under the congressional map chosen by their elected representatives. 

“The RNC is glad to join with the NRCC and NCGOP to ensure that North Carolina’s redistricting process proceeds in a constitutional manner. North Carolina’s courts are engaged in judicial activism and attempting to undermine the North Carolina legislature’s constitutional authority to draw congressional maps,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. “This is yet another example of the RNC’s extensive commitment to fighting key legal battles to protect every aspect of the election process.” 

Republican state legislative leaders filed the appeal on Friday, Feb. 25.

House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) announced the move, saying in a statement, “The United States Constitution is clear – state legislatures, not state judges, are responsible for setting the rules governing elections. By striking the General Assembly’s congressional map and redrawing their own, with the help of Democrat partisans, the courts have, once again, violated the separation of powers. This effort to circumvent the elected representatives of the people will not stand.” 

The filing asks the nation’s top court to stay the interim map. Since the Constitution allows state lawmakers to determine the manner of holding U.S. House elections, the panel of three state judges overstepped its authority in adopting boundaries that weren’t set by the state House and Senate, an attorney for the Republican leaders wrote. 

Chief Justice John Roberts had requested a response from the plaintiffs in the case by Wednesday, March 2. Plaintiffs in the case responded, arguing that the the court-drawn interim map should stand.