Federal judges declare North Carolina gerrymandering unconstitutional

Federal judges declare North Carolina gerrymandering unconstitutional

Acording to the Associated Press, federal judges ruled Tuesday that North Carolina's congressional district map drawn by legislative Republicans is illegally gerrymandered due to excessive partisanship that gave GOP a rock-solid advantage for most seats and must quickly be redone. And the state's legislature only has two weeks to redraw it.

The ruling comes as the Supreme Court is considering how partisan gerrymanders are considered by courts - in cases out of Wisconsin and Maryland - and it is expected that North Carolina lawmakers will ask to put the ruling on hold until the Wisconsin case, which was heard by the justices in October 2017, is resolved. The result, Wynn wrote, violated the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection.

On Tuesday, a panel of three judges decided the Republican-drawn map had been "motivated by invidious partisan intent" and infringes on voters' constitutional rights.

The ruling and its chief demand - that the Republican-dominated legislature create a new landscape of congressional districts by January 24 - infused new turmoil into the political chaos that has in recent years enveloped North Carolina.

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The court concluded that "the General Assembly meant to discriminate against voters who supported or were likely to support non-Republican candidates" and that "the 2016 Plan dilutes the votes of non-Republican voters and entrenches Republican control of the state's congressional delegation".

The possibility for delay, however, will soon run up against February filing deadlines for the North Carolina congressional races. A majority of the judges also agreed the panel would hire a redistricting expert to draw replacement boundaries if the legislature won't.

Because Republicans have already vowed to appeal the North Carolina ruling, this case could become the third one to appear before the Supreme Court that deals with partisan gerrymandering issues. But that case involves legislative districts, not a congressional plan. The court once came close to ruling that such cases were political matters beyond its jurisdiction.

At the time of the 2016 debate, according to the order, House redistricting chief Rep. David Lewis attempted to justify the criteria by saying "I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats". For as little as $3, you can help us. Lawmakers redrew legislative maps last August after boundaries originally drawn in 2011 were struck down as racial gerrymanders, but the judges were anxious unconstitutional lines remain. They included Wynn, who had been appointed by President Barack Obama; Earl Britt, who had been appointed by President Jimmy Carter; and William L. Osteen Jr., who had been appointed by President George W. Bush, according to the News & Observer.

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