A panel of state judges finally and incontrovertibly overturned North Carolina’s illegal election districts on Sept. 3, after the US Supreme Court punted on the issue in June.
And the Republican majority in the General Assembly finally folded their cards, finally conceding that they improperly used race and mathematics to subvert our state government to their misbegotten ends, or, ar least, that they were through fighting in the courts.
The Republicans are proposing to appoint Art Pope — who engineered the Republican ascent to power in 2010 — as the special master for redrawing the new maps, demonstrating that they have learned nothing from their malfeasance.
So now we’re faced with some questions that Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and his cronies would rather be left unasked.
First: How do we quantify the damage done by the Republican majority of the General Assembly? How do we articulate the things they have stolen from the people of the state?
Do we add up the time wasted? The legal bills? The salaries paid to legislators who obtained their seats illegally? Can we calculate the revenue lost by canceled sporting events, rerouted tourists, students who chose not to apply to North Carolina colleges, companies that declined to move here after our backwardness became national news? How do we measure the human suffering unleashed by inhumane laws affecting, among other groups and issues, the LGBT community, immigrants, workers, the media, reproductive rights, our public schools and the DMV?
Remember, this legislature changed our state constitution! Should we allow any of these unpopular laws passed in the last eight years — the time that these illegitimate districts have been in place — to stand?
And most importantly: How will we hold them accountable?
On that front, we could start by scrapping every piece of legislation passed by the unlawful body — or, at least, the controversial ones that would not have passed without support from illegitimate members of the House and Senate.
We could claw back every legislator’s salary from the last eight years, have them return their ill-gotten campaign contributions, dissolve the fundraising apparatuses and PACs that helped the NC GOP break the law.
We could insist that all reps in illegally drawn districts give up their seats immediately, and we could stipulate that any legislator who played a role in this scheme be prohibited from running for office in North Carolina ever again.
In short, we should treat the perpetrators of this plot like players in a conspiracy to commit massive fraud, which is exactly what it looks like from here.