What Does Gerrymandering Mean? North Carolina Congressional Districts To Be Redrawn

What Does Gerrymandering Mean? North Carolina Congressional Districts To Be Redrawn

Yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina unanimously struck down North Carolina's partisan gerrymander of congressional districts by the state's legislature in a challenge originally brought by Common Cause.

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the judges said the state's congressional districts, proposed in 2016, are unconstitutionally partisan; giving Republicans an advantage over Democrats.

"Republicans comprise 30 percent of registered voters in North Carolina, yet they crafted a congressional map that would ensure Republican success in ten of thirteen districts, or 76 percent", said Democratic Congressman Butterfield in a statement. But thanks to the Democratic Party's heavy losses in 2010, right before maps were redrawn to comport with the new Census - and right around when state-of-the-art gerrymandering software became available to state legislatures - the GOP now enjoys the overwhelming benefits of a system that empowers majority parties to pick their own voters.

This week, a three-judge panel of federal judges told lawmakers to go back for a third time and redraw the maps for our 13 congressional seats.

While courts have found that gerrymandering on a racial basis is clearly unconstitutional, they had yet to rule definitively on whether partisanship alone could yield unconstitutional voting maps.

It remains to be seen how the Supreme Court will deal with North Carolina's case, which differs in some important ways from the one out of Wisconsin. "The current map in North Carolina is a great example - it is an extreme outlier, more favorable to Republicans than 99.5% of maps produced by a neutral process".

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In the 2-1 ruling on Pennsylvania's case, a judge found that the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the idea that district maps should be blind to party considerations.

Republican legislative leaders responded by claiming they would craft a new congressional map by ignoring race entirely, and instead draw a blatant partisan gerrymander, as Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) stated publicly during a redistricting committee meeting in February of 2016.

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

Republicans plan to appeal the decision. The third judge, George W. Bush appointee William Osteen, authored a separate opinion agreeing that the existing map violated the 14th Amendment.

"There is a tremendous enthusiasm advantage for Democrats", Yang said in a conference call with journalists. "It is still not clear why judges may now intervene in cases of partisan gerrymandering", Hicks said.

The consultant hired by Republican lawmakers to draw the maps testified that following instructions from the lawmakers, he sought "to minimize the number of districts in which Democrats would have an opportunity to elect a Democratic candidate".

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