Politics

Courts Keep Thwarting North Carolina Republicans. So They’re Trying to Remake the Courts.

North Carolina NAACP President Rev. Anthony Spearman speaks at a rally in Raleigh for judicial fairness on January 10.Julia Wall/The News & Observer via AP

Republicans in the state legislature have unveiled a radical plan to transform the judiciary.

North Carolina’s Republican-led legislature has repeatedly passed controversial laws in recent years only to have them thrown out in court. Now the legislature is striking back with an effort to radically transform the makeup of the state’s courts.

Courts have overturned 14 laws passed by the legislature since 2011, including redistricting maps for the House of Representatives and the state legislature that one federal court called “among the largest racial gerrymanders ever encountered by a federal court.” Sweeping voting restrictions passed by the legislature in 2013 suffered a similar fate, with a federal appeals court saying they targeted “African Americans with almost surgical precision.” The legislature’s Republican supermajority hasn’t fared any better in state courts, which have blocked GOP efforts to strip teachers of tenure and to prevent the state’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, from appointing a majority of commissioners on state and local boards of elections.

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