Note to Chief Justice Roberts: When conservatives complain about liberal activist judges, I believe this is what they mean. The Hill reports that a county superior court judge in North Carolina tossed out a constitutional amendment requiring voter ID – which was approved by an overwhelming majority of the state’s voters – on grounds that the Republican General Assembly is “so gerrymandered that its members do not truly represent the state's residents and thus should never have proposed a voter ID amendment in the first place.” He also struck down an amendment capping the state’s income tax on the same grounds.
Conceivably, this judge must believe he has the power to strike down any and every law passed by the legislature, or any constitutional amendment approved by the voters that was proposed by the legislature, just because he doesn’t approve of the way the districts were drawn from which they were elected.
This goes beyond an “activist judiciary” into the realm of a “Madness of King George" judiciary.
The NAACP celebrated the ruling, calling the voter ID amendment “racist” and an attempt at “unconstitutional overreach." The staggering judicial overreach doesn’t seem to bother them. I already wrote about this, but it bears repeating:
A study of the effects of voter ID laws in ten states published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that “strict ID laws have no significant negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any subgroup defined by age, gender, race, or party affiliation”…and they “do not decrease the participation of ethnic minorities relative to whites. The laws’ overall effects remain close to zero and non-significant, whether the election is a midterm or presidential election, and whether the laws are the more restrictive type that stipulate photo IDs.”
However, according to my own unscientific study, the effect of activist judges who overstep their powers and trample on the will of the voters has a major negative effect on both constitutional government and voters’ attitudes toward their government. But I suspect that if it keeps up at this rate, it will eventually have a positive effect on the sale of tar and feathers.