Advocates host press conference on Supreme Court case

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Advocates rallied outside an Eastern Carolina courthouse Wednesday morning surrounding a high-profile U.S. Supreme Court case.

The “People Over Politics” press conference was held outside the Pitt County Courthouse at 10 a.m. The rally discussed why the U.S. Supreme Court case of Moore v. Harper from North Carolina could impact Greenville residents as well as voters across the state and country.

North Carolina’s fight over voting rights and gerrymandering is in the national spotlight.

Speakers included J. Sailor Jones, associate director of Common Cause North Carolina, an organization that is a respondent in the case of Moore v. Harper; Melissa Kromm, director of North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections; Joyah Bulluck; and Minerva Freeman.

At issue is who has the power to redraw congressional districts.

“A handful of legislative colleagues are asking all nine justices at the Supreme Court to give them their absolute power to manipulate our elections, undermine our votes, and once again rig our maps,” Jones said.

One advocate says if the Supreme Court is in favor of the Republican-drawn maps, there would be no checks and balances during federal elections.

“To understand why this is so dangerous, just think of our state government as a three-legged stool,” Kromm said. “Just take out one leg and everything else comes crashing down.”

WITN reached out to Eastern Carolina state Rep. Chris Humphrey, a Republican. He says the case stems from an interpretation of the federal constitution which says that the federal elections clause grants state legislatures with how and when to vote.

“I think there’s a difference in opinion in what the definition of legislature means. For years, Democrat-controlled state legislatures drew maps. No one complained. And now that Republicans are in control now everyone wants to complain,” Humphrey said.

No matter what decision the Supreme Court makes, Humphrey promises that the voting rights of North Carolinians will still be protected.

“Republicans won’t be in control forever. That just won’t happen,” Humphrey said. “As the state changes and society changes and new ideas come in… when you’re in the minority and not in control, the best thing you can do is rally the troops and vote the other way.”

“There’s no timetable for when the Supreme Court justices could make a decision, but state Republican lawmakers won’t have to wait for the court’s decision to produce a new congressional map. They will be able to draw that map next year.

Even as Democrats won half the state’s 14 congressional seats, Republicans seized control of the state Supreme Court.

Two newly-elected Republican justices give them a 5-2 edge that makes it more likely than not that the court would uphold a map with more Republican districts.

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