North Carolina Asks Court to Halt Congressional Map Change


This marks the first time that a federal court has overturned congressional district maps because of partisan 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.

A three-judge panel struck down North Carolina's congressional map this week, a decision that state Republicans vowed to challenge and could have long-term effects on the redistricting practice known as gerrymandering, election experts say.

The district court, which took months to issue an opinion in the case, gave the state just two weeks to redraw the map while the filing period for primary elections begins February 12, the lawmakers state in the application.

In the 2016 election, slightly less than half of the state's voters cast ballots for Democrats in elections for the U.S. House of Representatives.

In a similar case in Pennsylvania, a divided three-judge panel Wednesday rejected partisan gerrymandering claims involving the state's congressional districts.

Bob Phillips of Common Cause disagrees with Woodhouse.

At hearings a year ago in a Greensboro courtroom, the challengers called mathematicians and other experts to elaborate on statistical models built to highlight the efficiency gap.

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".

Can the May primary be delayed?

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The lawmakers' attorneys filed a motion with Chief Justice John Roberts seeking delay of the lower court judges' directive that the General Assembly draw a replacement map by January 24.

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.

Courts have found in the past that it's wrong to make maps to limit the voices of racial minorities. Currently, there are only three Democrats out of the state's 13 U.S. House seats.

Last September, a group of past and present GOP lawmakers-including Arizona Senator John McCain, Ohio Governor John Kasich and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger- urging the Supreme Court to rule that extreme gerrymandering violates the Constitution.

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.

The judicial branch had to draw the lines in Kansas the last time around.

At least one time, elections were held for maps ultimately deemed unconstitutional.

"Rather than seeking to advance any democratic or constitutional interest, the state legislator responsible for drawing the 2016 plan said he drew the map to advantage Republican candidates because he 'think [s] electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats, '" said Judge James Wynn, who wrote the order handed down earlier this week. The primary is scheduled for May 8 and runoffs from that are set for July 17.

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