Commentary, Defending Democracy

Editorial: Most recent GOP gerrymandering proves need for nonpartisan redistricting

The Fayetteville Observer is on the money again this morning with its assessment of the federal court fight over legislative redistricting that continues to drag on in Greensboro. The conclusion: If this doesn’t prove the need for nonpartisan redistricting that puts an end to political gerrymandering, nothing will.

After explaining that federal judges will hear again from the parties in the litigation that’s been going on for years again this Friday, the editorial (“Need more proof that you can’t fix gerrymandering?”) concludes this way:

“Meanwhile, how do candidates get ready to run? Their filing period opens in mid-February and their primary is in early May. How do you campaign when you don’t even know what your district boundaries are? We’d like to assume that the redistricting issues will be settled before candidates have to file for office, but we’ve wanted to assume that in the past, and the courts have consistently found fault with the updated districts.

All of this is our latest evidence that the American system of gerrymandering is finally broken beyond repair. There’s even been some discussion at the U.S. Supreme Court that signals the justices’ willingness to rethink the redistricting-is-inherently-political doctrine. It’s about time.

Even as support has grown across North Carolina for handing redistricting over to an independent, nonpartisan commission, our lawmakers have continued their almost laughably hypocritical dance around the issue. Several of the Republicans now in top leadership positions were, when they were the minority party, sponsors of legislation that would create just such a commission. Likewise, Democrats who now are pressing for the commission wouldn’t hear of it when they ruled the roost. Meanwhile, the current crop of Republicans is working harder than any group we’ve yet seen to thoroughly politicize every elected position, down to district court judges and even school boards.

If North Carolina lawmakers won’t hand redistricting over to an independent board, then it’s time for another flurry of lawsuits that will push the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court in a drive to finally toss out political gerrymandering.”

Click here to read the entire editorial.

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