Judges Strike Down North Carolina Congressional Map Over Gerrymandering

Henrietta Brewer
January 13, 2018

Republican leaders of the General Assembly are officially asking a court to put a hold on the political gerrymandering decision handed down on Tuesday.

"However, the 2011 Pennsylvania Congressional districts map has been determined to be constitutional by both Federal and State judges, which serves to further strengthen my view that the plaintiffs should abandon their costly legal actions and allow the Legislature's examination of reforms to move forward." .

It is the first time in history that a US federal court has struck down any kind of federal districting based on partisan gerrymandering.


Basically, their ruling says congressional districts as drawn violated the U.S. Constitution's equal-protection clause because they were created to favor Republicans over Democrats. Candidate filing opens February 12 and runs through the end of the month.

Attorneys for Robert Rucho, chairman of the state's Senate Redistricting Committee for the 2016 Extra Session, and other state officials submitted a request for an emergency stay of the district court order, which ruled the maps constituted an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, to Chief Justice John Roberts on Friday afternoon. Districts done in haste - should this ruling stand - will not be ideal, but if they can pass muster from these three judges, citizens can have more confidence in them than they do in the current ones.

In the state's 2011 redistricting plan, voters claim Democratic state officials meant to dilute the votes of Republicans in the state's 6th Congressional District who supported the Republican incumbent, then-Rep. He even said, "I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats because I do not believe it's possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats". It throws a new wrinkle and more uncertainty into the 2018 election cycle in North Carolina a month before candidates were scheduled to file for office. Donald Trump also carried the state.


Gerry Cohen, a former legislative staffer who worked on redistricting plans from 1981 to 2011, echoed on Friday what he said past year after North Carolina's congressional maps were declared to have two unconstitutional gerrymanders.

By midday Friday, the federal judges had not yet ruled on the state legislative case but told attorneys last week that they were aware of the tight timeline before the filing period. Absentee voting for the May primary begins on March 19. "Who knows what might happen".


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