Partisan gerrymandering plaintiffs ask U.S. Supreme Court to affirm lower ruling

The plaintiff’s in North Carolina’s partisan gerrymandering case have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the lower court’s decision striking down a 2016 congressional map.

The high court denied an expedited briefing in the case but could still affirm the court’s decision and order fair maps to be drawn, according to a news release from the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ).

The Campaign Legal Center (CLC), SCSJ and University of Chicago Professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos represent the plaintiffs in League of Women Voters of North Carolina v. Rucho. They jointly filed the brief on behalf of their clients, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and 12 individual North Carolina voters.

That case and Common Cause v. Rucho led to the partisan gerrymandering opinion from the lower court.

“The district court unanimously and correctly found that North Carolina lawmakers manipulated the state’s congressional voting maps to lock in their own political party’s power, with little regard for the will of voters,” said Paul Smith, vice president at CLC. “North Carolina has one of the most severely gerrymandered maps in modern American history. North Carolina voters have endured three election cycles with a skewed congressional map. The Supreme Court must affirm the lower court’s ruling, because even a single election under an unconstitutional map is one too many.”

Smith argued the partisan gerrymandering case out of Wisconsin, Gill v. Whitford, before the Supreme Court on October 3. There has not yet been an opinion handed down in that case, which is expected to set precedent.

Allison Riggs, senior voting rights attorney for SCSJ said they are hopeful the high court recognizes the “glaring unconstitutionality” of North Carolina’s plan.

“The congressional maps drawn in North Carolina would be unconstitutional under virtually any meaningful legal standard the court adopts,” she said.

Evidence presented at the trial in 2017 showed that Republican legislative leaders used political data in drawing the 2016 congressional map to gain specific partisan advantage. You can read more about that here.

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