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Extreme partisanship. Inconsistent processes. Unnecessary uncertainty.
What do all of these things have in common? Job creators everywhere consider them barriers to a competitive business climate. And they are exactly what has been churned up by a highly contentious redistricting litigation process that has dominated political conversations in our state for months.
On Wednesday, Feb. 23, three North Carolina Superior Court judges ruled on a final set of maps to be used in the state’s upcoming elections. The judges, under the guidance of three retired judges appointed to serve as special masters, accepted the General Assembly’s redrawn maps for NC House and NC Senate while overruling and replacing legislators’ proposed U.S. House map with one drawn instead by outside experts.
It was just the latest in a string of legal outcomes deciding (and “redeciding”) the permissibility of the General Assembly’s attempts to provide new electoral maps for the state – a duty designated by North Carolina’s Constitution to be carried out every decade, after each new census, by the legislative branch. Since these proceedings started last November, when plaintiffs’ groups began challenging the constitutionality of the General Assembly’s original set of maps in state court, our long-established redistricting process has deviated further and further from its intended design.
On this matter, the NC Chamber and the NC Chamber Legal Institute (CLI) have voiced the business community’s perspective loud and clear in recent weeks:
- “Op/ed: Are extreme partisanship and uncertainty now N.C. hallmarks?” –Business North Carolina (2/21) – NC Chamber Legal Institute President Ray Starling
- “Redistricting Update: Comparing the General Assembly’s Redraws with Competing Proposals” – NC Chamber (2/22) – NC Chamber Political Manager Kirk O’Steen
- “Business concerns about NC courts partisanship” – Capital Tonight (2/23) – Ray Starling
- “Harper v. Hall Decision Leaves NC in the Lurch on Certainty in Redistricting” – NC Chamber Legal Institute Sidebar (3/1) – Ray Starling
The NC Chamber, the CLI, and the larger business community we represent encompass a diversity of political perspectives, drawn together by a shared commitment to shaping a predictable policymaking climate that empowers our companies to succeed. We have long provided our state with a balanced voice for the commonsense middle ground.
With that comes a responsibility to call balls and strikes fairly on questions of the highest importance to our statewide competitiveness:
These proceedings, since their outset, have been a swing and a miss for balanced, consistent governance in North Carolina. We must not allow the breakdown of certainty in long-established processes of governance become our new normal. The next generation of North Carolinians deserve a system that works as it was meant to work.