Commentary

Editorial spells out what legislature should do next week on redistricting

In case you missed it, the latest Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com does a fine job of explaining what the General Assembly should do next as it goes about the business of complying with a recent court order directing it to establish fair and un-gerrymandered legislative districts.

The following is from “Court’s message: No more hyper-gerrymandering, pass non-partisan redistricting”:

While the legislature remains in session, it would be wise and prudent for the legislature to take up and pass the legislation that’s been filed to create a nonpartisan system for drawing legislative and congressional election districts. The judges’ opinion already provides good guidance for the criteria to direct such an independent non-partisan commission to use.

Do this now. So after the 2020 elections – no matter if it is the Republicans or Democrats who control the General Assembly – a non-partisan process and criteria for establishing legislative and congressional district lines will already be in place.

After almost a decade of resistance, Senate leader Phil Berger said he’d “respect the court’s decision” He added it was time to “finally put this divisive battle behind us. Nearly a decade of relentless litigation has strained the legitimacy of this state’s institutions, and the relationship between its leaders, to the breaking point. It’s time to move on.”

In that spirit, Berger needs to lead the effort to put a non-partisan redistricting system into place now, before the current legislative session ends. The court has provided good criteria to develop legislation and laid out the need for openness and transparency in doing it. Get the job done.

Click here to read the entire editorial.

One Comment


  1. George Greene

    September 6, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    The editorial DOES NOT spell out the criteria that the legislature needs to use. Even the court itself is not
    completely clear on this. The remedial section 167 of the opinion defers to “criteria adopted by the General Assembly’s House and Senate Redistricting Committees on August 10, 2017”. I have not seen *those* spelled out *either*,
    and I certainly can’t be happy about it given that they were Republican committees and that the bad plans were
    also drawn up in compliance with them.

    The court *does* spell out two *exceptions* to these criteria, and both of those are flawed as well. The first one allows the new plans to intentionally avoid double-bunking, but that is actually UNhelpful here, because the previous bad plans were characterized by a great deal of intentional double-bunking against women and black legislators (q.v. Bobbie Richardson). UNdoing that might necessarily REQUIRE double-bunking of some of them incumbents elected under these now-repudiated plans, yet this exception explicitly allows for their protection. The other exception, by far the more outrageous of the two, is that the court is forbidding the use of partisan political data in drawing the plans! Since the whole reason why the plans are being rejected is their PARTISAN impact, this is just beyond the pale. It has been rightfully said that “blind monkeys throwing darts at a board” could produce better maps than the ones being thrown out, but the court has now reduced us to EXACTLY THAT strategy!

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