North Carolina Asks Court to Halt Congressional Map Change

North Carolina Asks Court to Halt Congressional Map Change

In the 2016 election, slightly less than half of the state's voters cast ballots for Democrats in elections for the U.S. House of Representatives.

How long will North Carolinians have to suffer the hyper-partisan excesses of the current leadership of the General Assembly?

"For the past several months, plaintiffs have made dozens of strained legal arguments against the map and the majority decision once again invalidated the plaintiffs' position", Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, a Republican, said in a statement.

But when it comes to the U.S. House, Republicans have dominated, winning 13 of the state's 18 seats in each of the last three elections. The ruling marks the second time in ten years that a three-judge panel has thrown out the congressional boundaries drawn by the GOP in the state.

The line got a laugh, but it was considered proof that the gerrymandering was intended. After the 2010 election where a Tea Party wave elected a GOP state legislative majority, Republicans controlled the redistricting process.

A separate challenge to Pennsylvania's congressional map is pending before the state Supreme Court, which has scheduled oral arguments on the topic for next week in Harrisburg.

Senate Republicans issued a press release this week urging the people behind the suit based on state law to drop the case. The GOP won 10 seats in November 2016. Legislative Republican leaders on Wednesday filed documents in that case, arguing the Democratic voters who sued "are attempting to achieve through the courthouse what they could not in the voting booths". It took other anti-voter steps.

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When Republican Gov. Pat McCrory lost his re-election that fall-a statewide race, so there was no gerrymander-he quickly accused the Democrats of voter fraud, but offered no proof, as Democracy North Carolina documented in an extensive report. The state Republican Party chair accused him of "waging a personal, partisan war" on them, and tweeted this was a "hostile takeover".

Woodhouse added to his tweet later: "It is Now very clear that Judge Wynn has decided that should not be allowed to draw election districts under any circumstances under any set of rules". But the latest North Carolina voting rights victory is a cautionary tale.

Courts have found in the past that it's wrong to make maps to limit the voices of racial minorities.

Moreover, there's no guarantee that Judge Wynn's decision will be the last word.

A lawyer in the Pennsylvania case, Alice Ballard, says the U.S. Supreme Court should make the final decision. It has yet to issue a ruling in that case. "For the last dozen or so years, there weren't a lot of these cases".

Stephanopoulos, who led the anti-gerrymander legal team in the Wisconsin litigation that ended up before the Supreme Court, noted that the stakes in these cases are bigger than the fortunes of either party. "Rather, 'the core principle of our republican government is that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around'".

"Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge P. Kevin Brobson's December 2017 recommendation stated: "While Petitioners characterize the level of partisanship evident in the 2011 Plan as "unfair", Petitioners have not articulated a judicially manageable standard by which this Court can discern whether the 2011 Plan crosses the line between permissible partisan considerations and unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering under the Pennsylvania Constitution". "Gerrymandering, of course, is the quintessential political malfunction".

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