The Transylvania Times -

State Republicans Broke Constitutional Oath


Most of us still believe our word is our bond.

Every member of the General Assembly and every person elected (city council, mayor, school boards, county commissioners, sheriff, clerk of court, registrar of deeds, etc.), or appointed to hold any office of trust or profit in the state shall, before taking office or entering upon the execution of the office, take and subscribe to the following oath:

“I, ___________, do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States; that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina, and to the constitutional powers and authorities which are or may be established for the government thereof; and that I will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution of said State, not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, to the best of my knowledge and ability; so help me God.”

When members of the General Assembly voted for the voter ID laws and then Governor McCrory signed it into law, they violated the 14th, 15th and 26th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. They did so to disenfranchise blacks under the knowingly false pretense of combating fraud.

The three judges (Diana Gribbon Motz, nominated by President Bill Clinton; Henry Floyd, nominated by President George W. Bush and elevated to the 4th Circuit by President Obama; and James A. Wynn Jr., a former North Carolina Supreme Court of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals justice nominated to the federal circuit by Obama) unanimously ruled “the new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision.” The panel found the law was passed with racially discriminatory intent, violating the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. It said that “intentionally targeting a particular race’s access to the franchise because its members vote for a particular party, in a predictable manner, constitutes discriminatory purpose.”

Judge Motz added: “Our conclusion does not mean, and we do not suggest, that any member of the General Assembly harbored racial hatred or animosity toward any minority group.”

But she said the “totality of the circumstances — North Carolina’s history of voting discrimination; the surge in African American voting; the legislature’s knowledge that African Americans voting translated into support for one party; and the swift elimination of the tools African Americans had used to vote and imposition of a new barrier at the first opportunity to do so — cumulatively and unmistakably reveal that the General Assembly used [the law] to entrench itself.”

“Even if done for partisan ends, that constituted racial discrimination,” Motz wrote.

We now know the extent the Republicans we have elected to office will go to turn back the clock and disenfranchise African Americans. We have given them our trust and the power to execute the laws of the State and the Constitution of the United States. They gave their word to us and they swore before God to do so. None of this mattered to them.

History has shown that we must be vigilant and we cannot just be bystanders in our struggle for equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The ruling by the 4th District Circuit Court should be a wake up call for African Americans and all Americans that we must be united in this struggle. We must stay well informed and not only protest wrong but vote. What happens to African Americans today can happen to any one of you tomorrow.

(Locks has held several government leadership positions. In addition to serving 16 years on the Brevard City Council, he also has served as president of the North Carolina League of Municipalities and president of the North Carolina Black Elected Municipal Officials.)


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