Three judges rule for democracy in North Carolina's congressional districts

  • Three judges rule for democracy in North Carolina's congressional districts

Three judges rule for democracy in North Carolina's congressional districts

A panel of three federal judges in North Carolina struck down the state's 2016 congressional map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander on Tuesday. And these judges are appointees of three different presidents, Wynn by Barack Obama, Britt by Jimmy Carter and Osteen by George W. Bush, and are highly respected as experienced, clear-eyed jurists. "Plaintiffs ignore this reality". Johnson, a lecturer in journalism, is available to speak with media about the decision, election law, gerrymandering, possible appeals to the case, similar cases before the Supreme Court and related issues.

Roy Cooper railed against gerrymandering in his home state Thursday after federal judges said this week that congressional districts would have to be redrawn because they were unconstitutionally partisan. 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.

"Although there may be a case in which a political gerrymandering claim may successfully be brought under the Elections Clause, this is not such a case".

The judges agreed with the Democrats.

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

If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, Riggs said it would likely have to be on an expedited review in order for the justices to hear arguments this term.

In that case, challengers contend that maps adopted in 2017 violate the state and federal constitutions and fail to correct the unconstitutional racial gerrymandering found in maps used for the 2012, 2014 and 2016 elections.

The cases could create a standard for determining when states have crossed the line and drawn districts to increase the political power of one party over another. The Republican Party had intentionally divided the state in such a way that Republicans secured 10 out of 13 congressional seats, despite winning just 54 percent of the statewide vote. Although North Carolina's electorate leans roughly 50-50 toward Republican and Democratic candidates, redistricting efforts have given Republicans a significant advantage by exploiting flaws in the electoral system.

The main question in the case, which was tried last month, was legal: Is that kind of mapmaking permissible?

But the process of court approval for any new maps is not scheduled to be finished until after the filing period is scheduled to start.

Legislative Republican leaders on Wednesday filed documents in that case, arguing the Democratic voters who sued "are attempting to achieve through the courthouse what they could not in the voting booths".