Courts & the Law, Defending Democracy, News

Federal court: Partisan gerrymandering in NC congressional maps unconstitutional

A federal court ruled Tuesday that North Carolina lawmakers unconstitutionally used partisan gerrymandering in a 2016 Congressional map.

The legislature has until 5 p.m. January 24 to draw new maps. In the interest of time, the court also appointed a special master to help it draw alternative remedial maps, the 205-page order states.

Judge James Wynn, appointed by President Barack Obama, wrote the opinion joined by Judge Earl Britt, a President Jimmy Carter nominee. Judge William Osteen, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, wrote a separate opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.

The judges determined that lawmakers’ partisan intent violated the Equal Protection Clause, the
First Amendment, and Article I of the Constitution.

“Rather than seeking to advance any democratic or constitutional interest, the state legislator responsible for drawing the 2016 Plan said he drew the map to advantage Republican candidates because he ‘think[s] electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats,'” the order states.

The order enjoins the legislature from holding any elections using the 2016 plan.

The decision comes ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard a partisan gerrymandering case out of Wisconsin in October.

You can read the full order below. Check back with NC Policy Watch for more details.

Partisan Gerrymandering Order by NC Policy Watch on Scribd

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