Courts & the Law, News

U.S. Supreme Court sides with legislators in racial gerrymandering debate, declines to speed up process

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a request to speed up the process for which a lower court can take over the most recent North Carolina racial gerrymandering case.

The order in North Carolina v. Covington, which does not state a reason for the denial, was posted late Thursday.

Not long after, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger bragged about it in two Tweets.

“#BREAKING: Pleased #SCOTUS rejected latest step in left’s scheme to force a special #NCGA election in 2017, nullify 2016 votes #NCPOL (1/2),” he stated. “#NCGA stands ready, willing to enact new redistricting plan in time for already scheduled 2018 elections. #NCPOL (2/2)”

The Supreme Court affirmed last week the lower court’s finding that 28 state House and Senate legislative districts were unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered. It sent back to the lower court for further proceedings an order for special elections as a remedy to the violation.

Attorneys for Sandra Little Covington, et. al., had requested the highest court expedite the process at which it transfers jurisdiction back to the lower court, which would both direct legislators in creating new maps and decide whether special elections would be held this year or not.

They said legislators were trying to win by default by running out the clock with delays.

The state of North Carolina agreed to their request, the State Board of Elections took no position and legislators opposed it, saying it wouldn’t be fair and would set bad precedent if they didn’t get the typical 25 days to consider filing for a rehearing of the case, despite making no indication that they would actually do that.

This move means that there likely won’t be time for special elections this year, no matter what the lower court orders.

Gov. Roy Cooper earlier this week called for special elections. Civil rights groups and democracy advocates also gathered at the legislature this week to rally for special elections.

Check Also

Federal court adopts special master’s legislative districts for 2018 elections

The North Carolina redistricting news just keeps on ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

Nothing is off the table when it comes to Republican judicial reform, and a former Wake County judge [...]

On a cozy autumn evening at the luxurious Umstead Hotel in Cary, a medley of corporate luminaries, s [...]

A fix for North Carolina’s class size crisis in March? A GOP senator from Wake County tells his cons [...]

Back in September, the N.C. Historical Commission put off a decision on removing three Confederate m [...]

It was a snowy and shortened work week for a lot of people in North Carolina, but unfortunately, tha [...]

Mounting student debt is a nagging problem for most families these days. As the cost of higher educa [...]

Latest racist attacks on immigrants could be an important tipping point As bleak as our national pol [...]

Grand constitutional questions in this country aren’t settled until the Supreme Court has its say, e [...]

Upcoming Events

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more