NC Gerrymandered Map Ruled Unconstitutional By Panel Of Judges

Map from the office of Lt. Gov. Mike Stack

This week, however, a panel of three federal judges took the historic step of striking down North Carolina's "invidious" and "discriminatory" congressional map that "insulates Representatives from having to respond to the popular will" as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

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.

Although the federal ruling is a win for Democrats, many Republicans have broken with their party over gerrymandering.

"The North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case will go to the Supreme Court, which will have to determine whether states controlled by one political party will continue to see the redistricting process used to perpetuate that party's control of state and federal elections", Johnson said.

North Carolina Republicans have asked the Supreme Court to block a federal district court's decision to strike down the state's congressional voter map. It also ordered that lawmakers redraw the map within two weeks and stated that it intends to appoint a special master to draw an alternate in case their plan does not pass muster.

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.

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State Rep. David Lewis, a lawmaker involved in the GOP's gerrymandering effort, in 2016 to "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".

And that tight timeline plays a prominent role in this emergency motion.

"It makes no sense whatsoever to force North Carolina to immediately remedy a purported partisan gerrymandering violation and commence its 2018 election cycle under a new court-imposed map before this court can even decide whether and under what circumstances such claims may be adjudicated", Clement told Roberts, who receives appeals from North Carolina. The judges in the North Carolina case have given Republican lawmakers until January 24 to offer replacement maps or yield to an appointed special master.

Several times over the past three decades, primary elections were delayed either in whole or in part for district maps that had to be redrawn.

Gerry Cohen, a former legislative staffer who worked on redistricting plans from 1981 to 2011, echoed on Friday what he said previous year after North Carolina's congressional maps were declared to have two unconstitutional gerrymanders. That prompted the creation of a new map, the one now before the courts.

"There are so many different moving pieces here", Cohen said.

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