This morning’s editorial in the Fayetteville Observer gets it right on the latest gerrymandering decision from federal judges on the North Carolina congressional map. Here’s the on-the-money conclusion:
“The courts have long ruled that redistricting is an inherently political process and have turned away challenges to blatantly political gerrymandering. But it appears that in many federal courtrooms across the country, those powerful computerized redistricting programs have led judges to rule that politicized redistricting has finally gone too far. It’s likely that at some point soon, the U.S. Supreme Court will agree and force states to follow new redistricting guidelines.
Some of the Republican leaders who are expressing dismay at the federal panel’s ruling were once sponsors of legislation that would have turned North Carolina redistricting over to a nonpartisan, professional commission. That was before they acquired their vise-like grip on power. We’ve seen the same forces at work with Democrats.
The bigger question here is whether a higher court will uphold an exceptionally tight redistricting timetable. Candidate filing for congressional primary elections will begin less than three weeks after the deadline for new maps.
But the long view is increasingly clear: There is a growing belief among legal experts and among many voters that our redistricting system has run amok, creating congressional and state legislative districts that are spectacularly unrepresentative of the voters. It’s long since time to abandon gerrymandering and find a better, fairer way.”