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Federal judges deny request for stay in partisan gerrymandering case as Supreme Court considers it

A federal court has denied GOP lawmakers’ request [1] to halt its decision to strike down the 2016 congressional map [2] because of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering.

The same request is currently being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court [3].

In the federal three-judge panel’s unanimous decision to deny the request for stay, they wrote that lawmakers “failed to meet their ‘heavy burden’ in seeking the ‘extraordinary relief’ of staying this court’s order.”

According to the court document, the court considers four factors when determining whether to issue a stay pending appeal: 1: whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits; 2: whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; 3: whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and 4: where the public interest lies.

The document states that lawmakers in their request for stay did not specifically address those four factors but if they had, they still wouldn’t have met the burden for a stay.

The judges wrote that the plaintiffs in the partisan gerrymandering case, not legislative defendants, stood to be substantially injured if a stay was granted.

“If Plaintiffs — and North Carolina voters in general — are denied relief before the 2018 election, Legislative Defendants would reap the benefits of their invidious partisan districting efforts ‘for another election cycle,'” they wrote. “As a result, North Carolinians would cast votes in congressional elections conducted under unconstitutional maps in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018 — virtually the entire decade.”

The judges also address lawmakers’ argument that the case should be stayed because the Supreme Court had not yet made a decision in a similar partisan gerrymandering case out of Wisconsin, Gill v. Whitford. You can read the full decision here:

District Court Stay Denial [4] by NC Policy Watch [5] on Scribd