Photo caption: Bishop Tavis Grant
Local and national state legislatures that have supermajorities using their ability to “weaponize” legislation to ban, block, obstruct and ultimately disrupt democracy will be confronted and sued,” said Bishop Tavis Grant, acting national executive director of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Grant said he and Reverend Jesse Jackson are in solidarity with several Civil Rights organizations over Republicans using their political might to oppose legislation favorable to poor and people of color.
Opposing these supermajority legislatures is critical “to ensure that the people who need services, programs and assistance get them without” getting caught up in bipartisan politics, Grant said at Saturday’s April 29 Rainbow PUSH Coalition broadcast.
He called the Republican’s legislative actions “un-American” and said they “fly in the face of democracy.” Their actions, Grant said, “amount to a malfeasance, a political malpractice.” Grant was referring to the three of nine Supreme Court Justices who Trump appointed that helped to overturn Roe v. Wade that was passed 49 years ago.
Grant says the 28 percent of judges appointed by Trump and their decisions also bear watching along with the 27 percent of active district court judges.
But there’s more to the Republicans overturning or blocking passage of democratic bills supported by Democrats. Grant pointed to the Republicans’ failure to approve the assault weapons ban, bring back equity in educational funding, illegal immigration, the critical race theory, teaching Black history and other issues supported by Democrats.
“To take food, shelter, resources, health care and opportunities from persons who need it most simply because you don’t like their agenda, that you don’t like their color or their community is un-American, undemocratic and it’s wrong,” Grant told the Chicago Crusader.
When asked what can be done since Republicans are in charge of the House and across the nation in both chambers, especially in the South, Grant said, “We are mobilizing. We fought back, and we will continue to fight back.
“We’re going to primary (oppose their elections) many of these politicians. We are going to go to their state houses, and we’re going to take the legal steps all the way to the Supreme Court. This is not a standard (race),” he said. “This is a marathon, and we are determined to run all the way.”
Asked if there is a particular bill he and Jackson opposed that was blocked or defeated by Republicans, Grant said, “We’re really upset about what we see in North Carolina.
“The advocacy we see in the judiciary has to be addressed. These judges that take seats in state supreme courts and use their own personal politics to reinterpret, rewrite and recast state constitutions is akin to what we went through with Jim Crow, what we went through with redlining and justice reform,” Grant stated.
“We know that the democratic option is the best way to reform and to bring about the appropriate remedies or results to restore this democracy,” he stated. “We have proven over and over again that the democratic option must be utilized and maximized for the potential of us to bring this country closer to its better self.”
Earlier, Grant pointed to the states that have diminished or made it more difficult for poor and people of color to vote, like North Carolina. Grant bellowed, “This fight is on every level for our democracy, and we want North Carolina to know we’re taking it to the U.S. Supreme Court because you’re not going to steal our ballot. You’re not going to steal our votes, and you’re not going to steal our democracy.”
Grant was referring to the Republican-controlled North Carolina Supreme Court, which overturned a previously passed gerrymandered voting map, instead upholding a photo identification law that had already been voted down due to racism.
The Court’s actions will make it easier for the Republican-majority legislature to ease the way for state Republicans to win more seats in the U.S. House for the 2024 redrawing of Congressional boundaries.
The Democrats won 7 of 14 Congressional seats last November. The Court’s ruling of 5-2 ensures that state lawmakers will have a greater chance of winning more GOP seats in drawing the General Assembly remap next year and for the rest of the decade.
The Court’s ruling also ensures that the voter identification law the legislature passed could be carried out. This means that the bill ends the principle of one person, one vote in the state Senate and would now have each of the state’s 50 senators represent two of North Carolina’s 100 counties regardless of the population. This will give rural Republicans more political power than the Democrats.
The majority Republican North Carolina Supreme Court justices also overturned a trial court decision on when the voting rights of those convicted of felonies are restored leaving thousands forced to complete their probation or parole, including paying any fines just to have the right to vote.
The Republican North Carolina House Speaker issued a statement saying the Court’s favorable decisions “ensure that our constitution and the will of the people of North Carolina are honored.”
In contrast, former U.S. Attorney Eric Holder, who heads a national Democratic group that supported the redistricting litigation, said the Court’s ruling was “a function of political personnel and partisan opportunism” by the Republicans.
These Republican majority court rulings, Grant said, is why they will see them in court. “We’re fighting back,” he said.