The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal aggressively called out the North Carolina gerrymandering decision authored by Fourth Circuit appellate Judge James Wynn. It’s worth reading if you have a Wall Street Journal subscription. The editorial is also in today’s print edition.
Below are just a few prescient lines from the piece:
The Supreme Court has long held that political considerations are permissible and even intrinsic to legislative redistricting. The question the Court has been grappling with over the last three decades is how much partisanship is too much. Judge Wynn joined by liberal colleague Earl Britt side-stepped this question and ruled that any political considerations are unconstitutional if judges say so.
The editorial board made note of the partial dissent in the decision as well:
In a partial dissent, Judge William Osteen explained that “only the state legislatures, through their power to draft congressional districts in the first instance, and Congress with its power under Article I, Section 4 of the United States Constitution, have the authority to remove political partisan considerations entirely from the redistricting process.”
The editorial goes on to speculate why similar partisan redistricting efforts by Democrats in Pennsylvania are not being questioned, making the case that this decision is a political power grab. The best line from the piece may be this one about the Supreme Court punting on this decision to allow free reign to usurp legislators: “The Court’s dodge this summer allowed liberal judges to pose as legislators, and they are doing so.”
The piece calls judicial activism a “more tangible threat” to our constitutional government than alleged meddling in our elections by Russia. Thomas Jefferson even warned that judicial activism could make the constitution “a thing of wax.” Unfortunately, the lack of delegated authority for judges to wade so deep into this area seems to be no deterrent. One can certainly be against partisan gerrymandering as a practice but they need to petition or work to change their legislators.
One of the positives of President Donald Trump is his aggressive effort to curtail judicial activism within our federal courts. It’s one of the main reasons people voted for him for president. Even if Trump were to serve two terms, it’s a still a long and slow process given the number of activist judges currently on the federal bench. We’d all be better off if they traded in their black robes and hit the campaign trail as the partisan legislators they desire to be.