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Federal judges rule NC congressional maps unconstitutional

12 January 2018, 05:40 | Devin Moran

North Carolina Congressional Map Ruled Unconstitutionally Gerrymandered

This map shows the new congressional districts drawn during the Feb. 18 redistricting session

A federal court on Tuesday found North Carolina's congressional map to be an unconstitutional "partisan" gerrymander devised by the state's Republican lawmakers - and ordered the state to submit a new map by the end of the month. It's the second time North Carolina's congressional maps have been thrown out - in 2016, three federal judges ruled that state's congressional districts were the result of an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. With filing in congressional races slated to begin February 12, time is of the essence, the court said.

A spokeswoman for Republican state Sen. "A gerrymander is by definition and common understanding a strange-looking monster drawing", North Carolina GOP Chairman Robin Hayes said in a statement. Other legislative leaders did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"This is a hostile takeover of the North Carolina General Assembly and legislative bodies across the U.S. The unprecedented usurping of legislative authority by Judge Wynn will most certainly be stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court". A Supreme Court ruling outlawing at least some such gerrymanders could reshape the political landscape.

There were rumors floating around Raleigh last week that the legislature might delay primary elections and that might make sense, but the dates we've heard for rescheduled primaries is August or even September. That process will start sometime this week, Lewis said. Nicholas Stephanopoulos of the University of Chicago, and Eric McGhee of the Public Policy Institute of California, produced the "efficiency gap" - a mathematical measure of how many Democratic or Republican votes are "wasted" by a given gerrymander, which is to say, how many partisan voters are packed into districts so uncompetitive, their ballots count for nothing. While the measure has broad support in the NC House with 39 bipartisan co-sponsors, it has not yet been given a hearing or a vote in that chamber.

The General Assembly goes back into session Wednesday.

Wynn, an Obama appointee who wrote the opinion, said the state's Republican Party had tried to "subordinate" non-Republican voters and believed they were "motivated by invidious partisan intent", according to TheNYT. That case, Covington v.

In that case, the court also assigned an expert, called a special master, to redraw districts after rejecting changes made by the GOP majority last August. Although a lower court ordered Wisconsin to redraw a new plan by the fall, the Supreme Court has put a hold to that order.




"Although the order accepting the case did not give a reason for that, one possible explanation is that the Justices may have looked at it in comparison to the Wisconsin case and decided that the ruling they are preparing would not necessarily fit the Maryland case, too", he said.

"It is incredibly disappointing activist Judge Jim Wynn is waging a personal, partisan war on North Carolina Republicans", Woodhouse said in a tweet. Given current polling of this fall's midterm elections, that could well be the difference between a Democratic- or Republican-led House in 2019.

In the past, there have been allegations that both major parties in North Carolina redrew election maps to their liking.

"In my opinion, Article I, Sections 2 and 4 (of the U.S. Constitution) set a clear limit on unconstitutional political gerrymandering", Osteen wrote. It is time our legislators did the right thing and created an independent redistricting commission to draw maps following the 2020 census. But the ruling is also notable because it deals with the very issue the US Supreme Court is now wrestling with in two separate cases: whether extreme partisan gerrymandering can be found unconstitutional.

"They have to reintroduce themselves", he said of the incumbents. "This is a pretty weighty decision".

"In other words the meaning of the word came WITH a illustration that showed a weird looking districts, something many people would object to just based on how they look".

Of course, the outcome wasn't chance, as Republican legislators explicitly drew the 2016 maps to yield a 10-3 lineup.



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