Abril 20, 2018

Judges order North Carolina congressional districts redrawn quickly

13 Enero 2018, 08:28 | Crisanna Felipe

Federal judges rule NC electoral map unconstitutional

Court Strikes Down GOP's North Carolina Congressional Gerrymander

A lawyer in the Pennsylvania case, Alice Ballard, says the U.S. Supreme Court should make the final decision. "Today's decision is a victory for democracy and a victory for North Carolinians who were carved out of any real choice in their elected representatives in Washington". The high court also agreed to hear a Maryland case over partisanship in that state's congressional map. The court said North Carolina lawmakers should produce a new map by January 29, and if the state doesn't act, a special master will take over. Other courts that have struck down maps based on partisan considerations involved state legislative districts. Such a ruling could radically change American elections. Leaders of the Republican legislature plan to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, the News and Observer reported. Lewis said previous year that, given another chance, he wouldn't have said that, but he was trying to make it obvious race wasn't a deciding factor in the maps.

In the debate, House redistricting chief Rep. David Lewis explained the map with the following justification: "I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats". He also detailed decades of legal wrangling over Democrat-led legislatures' partisan gerrymandering.

Judges appointed by former presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Barack Obama unanimously condemned Republican legislators' violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal-protection clause. "Judge Wynn is not being a judge, he is acting as a pundit by trying to impose his liberal beliefs instead of making a judicial ruling".

The panel's decision was in fact unanimous.

4th US Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James A. Wynn wrote the majority opinion. Osteen dissented on part of Wynn's rationale, however. That map by Wisconsin's Republican lawmakers resulted in the party gaining a super majority- 60 of State Assembly's 99 seats, despite Republican candidates winning just 48.6 percent of Wisconsin votes statewide.

Democrats say that getting maps redrawn is a critical step to taking back the House, which they haven't controlled since 2010.

It is the first time in history that a USA federal court has struck down any kind of federal districting based on partisan gerrymandering.

Either way, Tuesday's court decision is expected to affect how the state picks members of Congress.

"In every corner of this state our supporters have rallied again and again to demand our lawmakers draw fair maps, and with this ruling we expect the N.C. General Assembly to adhere to the court's order and finally listen to their constituents".

Duke professor Jonathan Mattingly saw his critical analysis of the state's 13 Congressional districts become one of the focal points of a 205-page court ruling that declared them an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. The judges said that Republicans drew the maps to intentionally give them an advantage for GOP "domination of the state's congressional delegation".

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