Supreme Court halts redrawing of North Carolina congressional maps

Supreme Court halts redrawing of North Carolina congressional maps

"Given the election calendar-with candidate filing in North Carolina scheduled for February-if the Supreme Court orders a stay of the lower court decision, this would likely mean that the 2018 North Carolina congressional elections would take place under the current district map rather than a re-drawn map", he said.

The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments over the state's Congressional maps to try to determine if they violate the state's Constitution free speech and free and fair elections protections.

A three-judge panel had ruled the districts illegal, saying the state legislature had engaged in a partisan gerrymander that disfavored non-Republicans.

A three-judge panel last week determined that Republicans who drew the maps two years ago participated in "invidious partisan discrimination" by fashioning lines that benefited Republicans and their candidates at the expense of Democrats and their supporters.

But members of the GOP leadership in Raleigh expressed satisfaction with Thursday's win. Ralph Hise (R-Spruce Pine) criticized the lower court's initial ruling as an unwarranted intervention.

This ruling is somewhat uncharted territory: While courts have invalidated congressional maps as racially discriminatory, judicial objection to gerrymandering for partisan gain is unprecedented.

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Hise and Lewis chaired their respective chambers' redistricting committees, and Lewis was named as a defendant in the lawsuit. In drawing the existing map, Republicans in the legislature maintained Republicans' partisan advantage in the delegation, simply shifting some incumbents' districts around. The current lines seemingly benefited the Republican Party - in 2016, they scooped up 10 House of Representative seats out of 13 seats.

A federal court ruled North Carolina's electoral map unconstitutional on January 9 because Republicans had drawn the map seeking a partisan advantage.

But an attorney for the senate republicans says democrats are not being shut out of the political process. Robert Rucho (R-Matthews).

Those judges on Tuesday had refused to put the ruling on hold.

The Supreme Court is now examining two other cases from Wisconsin and Maryland involving claims that electoral districts were manipulated to keep the majority party in power in a manner that violated voters' constitutional rights.

Republican lawmakers told the Supreme Court that the lower court "has used an entirely novel legal theory to hopelessly disrupt North Carolina's upcoming legislative elections".

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