Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

North Carolina Congressional Map Ruled 'An Unconstitutional Partisan Gerrymander'

North Carolina Congressional Map Ruled 'An Unconstitutional Partisan Gerrymander'

Wynn, W. Earl Britt and William L. Osteen Jr. are the three federal judges who on Tuesday rendered North Carolina's congressional district maps unconstitutional in a profoundly important ruling.

The judges gave the state about three weeks to file a new plan with the court so it will be in place before the 2018 midterms.

The deadline is important because candidates for the November congressional elections begin filing for the primaries on February 12. Districts done in haste - should this ruling stand - will not be ideal, but if they can pass muster from these three judges, citizens can have more confidence in them than they do in the current ones.

Although the federal ruling is a win for Democrats, many Republicans have broken with their party over gerrymandering.

The U.S. District Court this week struck down the state's 2016 congressional map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

In the state's 2011 redistricting plan, voters claim Democratic state officials meant to dilute the votes of Republicans in the state's 6th Congressional District who supported the Republican incumbent, then-Rep.

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"We're enormously gratified on behalf of our clients and all voters in North Carolina that no one will have to endure another congressional election under an unconstitutional map", said Allison Riggs, senior voting rights attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which represented some of the challengers.

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

Republican leaders of the General Assembly are officially asking a court to put a hold on the political gerrymandering decision handed down on Tuesday.

In an effort to make it clear that race had not been considered in the drawing of the 2016 maps, Lewis made a comment that provided the underpinnings for the partisan gerrymander case.

The judges unanimously agreed that the state's lawmakers violated the equal-protection clause in the U.S. Constitution when the state's Republicans drew maps explicitly to favor their party. "Having already ignored the prerogatives of the political branches to play the primary role in elections to that degree, it is no surprise that the district court apparently does not even intend to decide which map to impose in time to comply with upcoming voter assignment and filing periods".

In the request to Roberts on Friday, appellate lawyer Paul Clement, argued the court only gave them 14 days to enact a new map and accused the court of disrupting North Carolina's congressional elections. Donald Trump also carried the state.

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