Three-Judge Panel Strikes Down NC Districts As Political Gerrymandering

Ken AshfordConstitution, Courts/Law, Local Interest, Voter SuppressionLeave a Comment

This is a huge decision not only locally, but nationally.

A federal court yesterday ruled that Republicans in North Carolina unconstitutionally gerrymandered congressional districts in 2016 to ensure Republican “domination of the state’s congressional delegation.”

The three-judge panel struck down the map and ordered the state’s General Assembly to come up with a substitute by Jan. 24.

The decision was the first striking down of a congressional map, as opposed to a state legislative map, on the grounds that it was rigged in favor of a particular political party. Redistricting has historically been political and partisan to one degree or another.

While courts have invalidated redistricting plans, including ones in North Carolina, as racially discriminatory, judicial objection to gerrymandering for partisan gain is relatively new territory, with legal standards unsettled by the U.S. Supreme Court. Indeed, the court has never struck down a redistricting plan on the basis of partisan gerrymandering until yesterday.

If this opinion survives appeal, and becomes federal law, it could change the landscape of elections nation-wide.