In NC, an Unprecedented Court Decision on Voting

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Candidate filing for the November congressional elections begins February 12, with primaries set for early May. "[It] remains to be seen what SCOTUS will say", McGhee said, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court. "This constant flux is not good for anybody". It was the first time federal judges had ruled that a congressional map was unconstitutional because of gerrymandering.

This week the Federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered lawmakers to redraw congressional districts.

Other Republicans were quick to agree. A divided federal court later found that Republicans, using high-speed computer technology along with new voter data, were able to draw new district lines to solidify their control of the Legislature for at least the rest of the decade, if not longer. "It is incredibly disappointing activist Judge Jim Wynn is waging a personal, partisan war on North Carolina Republicans".

"In election cases often times when you're dealing with an impending deadline you try to keep the status quo", said Rebecca Green, a law professor who leads the election law program at William & Mary Law School.

He said defenders of the Wisconsin assembly and NC congressional maps have argued that non-compactness is required.

Gerrymandering refers to the practice of drawing voting districts in order to benefit one party over another in elections.

The Supreme Court also added a second gerrymandering case to its docket in December.

Tuesday's case involves partisan gerrymandering.

With such an appeal, the North Carolina case would join two other challenges on gerrymandering that are already before the Supreme Court.

"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", Scarnati said in a statement. That was the unanimous ruling yesterday from three federal judges.

"The timing is really tight", Dinan said. The decision comes after 10 of the 13 districts in North Carolina elected a Republican to Congress in the 2016 election despite relatively even statewide splits between Republican and Democratic voters.

As Prema Levy of Mother Jones points out, "the state's previous map was deemed illegal for being racially gerrymandered in 2016" - years after the map allowed the GOP to take a vast majority of the state's House seats.

BULLOCK: Yet, 10 Republicans were elected to the House of Representatives to just three Democrats.

Experts say a stay could be likely.

The latest lawsuit, which was filed by election advocacy groups and Democrats, argued Republican legislators went too far when they followed criteria created to retain the party's 10-3 majority in the state delegation. "So that's a big marginal gain from one state". So, what they did was pack a large number of Democratic voters into three districts. The Supreme Court had ruled against racial gerrymandering earlier, however it has never before ruled on whether partisan gerrymandering is to be considered unconstitutional. He said it hurts challengers and their donors who may suddenly be unsure where their districts are.

The Charlotte Observer is the largest daily newspaper in the Carolinas.