Back in 2016, a panel of federal judges struck down several of Virginia's congressional districts for being unconstitutionally gerrymandered. The change in districts resulted in one long time Republican congressman to decide not to run for re-election in his district and ultimately Democrats picked up a congressional seat. Now, something similar has happened in North Carolina where all of the GOP drawn districts were ruled unconstitutional. The panel of judges gave the North Carolina legislative assembly a short period to redraw the districts even as the judges go about redrawing the districts themselves. With the midterms just 10 months away, the ruling could cause Republicans to lose seats in November if they must run in non-gerrymandered districts. Two of the pillars of Republican electoral success have been (i) disenfranchising minority and Democrat leaning voters, and (ii) gerrymandered districts that throw seats to Republicans overall even in cases where they win a minority of votes statewide. A glance at the GOP drawn map shows how ridiculous some of the districts were in fact. Here are the highlights from the New York Times:
A panel of federal judges struck down North Carolina’s congressional map on Tuesday, declaring it unconstitutionally gerrymandered and demanding that the Republican-controlled General Assembly redraw district lines before this year’s midterm elections.The ruling was the first time that a federal court had blocked a congressional map because the judges believed it to be a partisan gerrymander, and it deepened the political chaos that has enveloped North Carolina in recent years.
“We agree with plaintiffs that a wealth of evidence proves the General Assembly’s intent to ‘subordinate’ the interests of non-Republican voters and ‘entrench’ Republican domination of the state’s congressional delegation,” Judge James A. Wynn Jr. wrote in a 191-page opinion that another judge joined in full.
Later in the ruling, Judge Wynn, . . . . added that the judges believed that Republicans in the Legislature had been “motivated by invidious partisan intent.”
Although the judges said that the state could not conduct its 2018 congressional elections with the existing map, they said they would allow the General Assembly to try again.
The judges gave lawmakers until Jan. 24 to propose a “remedial plan,” but cautioned that the court would begin preparations to issue a map of its own if it found the new district lines deficient.