Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

North Carolina congressional districts ruled illegally gerrymandered

North Carolina congressional districts ruled illegally gerrymandered

"You can obviously have nicer-looking districts that still intentionally and dramatically favor one side over the other", Stephanopoulos said. The court ruled the maps were illegal because they were gerrymandered specifically to benefit Republicans - the first time a court cited partisanship as a reason to throw out Congressional maps created through redistricting. "At long last, politicians in our state will no longer be allowed to use partisan gerrymandering in order to shield themselves from accountability to the public".

Thus, there's a good chance that North Carolina Republicans will (at least) be able to run one more election on their rigged map, while the Supreme Court sorts these other cases out. But the North Carolina case indicates how savvy political operators can game the system while keeping districts looking fairly tight and compact.

"Politics is a very important driving force" in redistricting, he said, "and those claims will be raised". To take just one example: Millions of law-abiding, undocumented immigrants might have been able to secure legal status before the Trump era descended upon them.

McGhee said the courts haven't cemented district shapes as a requirement of gerrymandering.

North Carolina Republicans have gotten quite good at this, as evidenced by the state's 2016 election returns. Tuesday's ruling went much further, arguing that the congressional map violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution, as well as the First Amendment and Elections Clauses. Currently, despite the near-even partisan split in the state, Republicans hold 13 of Pennsylvania's 18 House seats.

The justices on the state's high court - five Democrats and two Republicans - have scheduled oral arguments on the constitutionality of the maps for next Wednesday. Republicans denounced the court's decision and vowed to appeal it to the Supreme Court.

The panel found violations of three separate constitutional provisions.

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The group of Democratic voters is planning to appeal the ruling. Osteen dissented on part of Wynn's rationale, however.

Wynn said state Republicans never disputed that the redistricting was done to help their party win elections.

The plan "has discriminated, and will continue to discriminate, against voters who support non-Republican candidates", wrote Wynn for the court.

The time for making those decisions and formulating plans for a campaign is bearing down on them.

"It is incredibly disappointing activist Judge Jim Wynn is waging a personal, partisan war on North Carolina Republicans", Woodhouse said in a tweet.

Hart Research Associates polled 602 likely North Carolina voters from December 7 to December 10.

North Carolina voters led by the Common Cause of North Carolina and the League of Women Voters challenged the maps in two suits that were jointly tried before the three-judge panel in October 2017.

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