Speaking with Joy Reid on her MSNBC show, AM Joy, Reverend William Barber announced that he and the North Carolina NAACP — of which he is president — plan to sue North Carolina Republicans after outgoing Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill that severely limits the power of the incoming Democratic governor.
According to Reid, the bill signed by McCrory “substantially limits Governor-elect Roy Cooper’s authority to make appointments to the Election boards, to reduce Democrats’ power over election boards which determine things like how many voting sites each precinct will get.”
As a result of McCrory’s actions, hundreds of protesters gathered to express their frustration with the soon-to-be former governor. As Rev. Barber said when Reid welcomed him to the show, “Nearly 100 people have actually gotten arrested … In a form of almost fascism they didn’t want to let people speak up and we literally knocked on the doors to get in and they arrested people for doing that.”
Barber also compared the situation in North Carolina to the “segregationist talk” of the past.
‘It sounds a lot like segregationist talk when they used to have — said they had the majority. But a majority does not give you the right to run roughshod over the Constitution. This — these Republican extremists have a special kind of low and a thirst for power to lie the way they do.’
Barber went on to explain that a lawsuit filed by the NAACP will be the culmination of McCrory’s actions and North Carolina Republicans’ long history of racist gerrymandering and passing unconstitutional laws.
“We are planning to sue,” Barber announced. “I want to announce that on your program. Because we believe these are violations of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the Equal Protection Clause. Because millions of voters voted for Cooper. Millions of African-Americans. And by stripping power, they are diluting the influence of African-Americans … That’s what’s going on here.”
North Carolina has faced intense scrutiny in recent months, as it was decided by federal judges that congressional and legislative districts were drawn unconstitutionally based on race. The state is even being required to hold new elections next year after districts are redrawn in a fair way, which Barber brought up towards the end of the interview.
‘This is just as bad as those racist voter suppression laws and we beat them on those. We beat them on redistricting. That’s what I want people to know. And I want people to understand that after all their tricks and suppression, they lost. And they see the handwriting on the wall. They know that next year when these lines are redrawn, many will not get re-elected. They can only get elected through racist gerrymandering. We have to fight it.’
Watch Reid and Barber’s discussion in the video below, available via YouTube.
Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images.