SCOTUS Halts Redrawing Of North Carolina District Maps


The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a lower court's order for North Carolina to redraw its congressional district maps.

However, two similar cases are now under consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court-one in Wisconsin claiming that Republicans drew congressional maps to partisan advantage and another claiming that Democrats did the same in Maryland.

The court's opinion stated that the Republican-dominated state legislature had been motivated by "invidious partisan intent" and committed three constitutional violations. They did retain it in the elections that November.

"Until the Supreme Court resolves the Wisconsin and Maryland cases that involve similar but not identical issues to the North Carolina case, in a situation where the Supreme Court has yet to settle on a clear standard for identifying and remedying instances of partisan gerrymandering, the lower court's ruling in the North Carolina case is likely to be put on hold", said political science professor John Dinan.

The case is Rucho v. Common Cause, 17A745. "We are confident that the court will ultimately agree that the legislature's extreme partisan gerrymander violates the constitutional rights of North Carolina citizens". In a joint statement, state Rep. David Lewis (R-Dunn) and state Sen. That practice is called partisan gerrymandering.

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Hise and Lewis chaired their respective chambers' redistricting committees, and Lewis was named as a defendant in the lawsuit. The current lines seemingly benefited the Republican Party - in 2016, they scooped up 10 House of Representative seats out of 13 seats.

The judges told the legislature to approve new maps — what would be the third edition this decade — by January 24.

The judicial panel of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina that ruled against the General Assembly included district judges William Osteen Jr. of Greensboro and Earl Britt of Raleigh, along with Judge James Wynn Jr. of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Republican lawmakers told the Supreme Court that the lower court "has used an entirely novel legal theory to hopelessly disrupt North Carolina's upcoming legislative elections".

The Supreme Court is now examining two other cases from Wisconsin and Maryland involving claims that electoral districts were manipulated to keep the majority party in power in a manner that violated voters' constitutional rights.