In case you missed it late yesterday (or simply find yourself hopelessly confused by the whole mess and have just given up trying to stay on top of it), Republican lawmakers have yet again sought to stop a federal court from ordering the implementation of fairer, less gerrymandered maps for the election of the members of the North Carolina General Assembly. As Gary Roberton of AP reported last night:
“Republican legislative leaders in North Carolina asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to halt a second lower-court redistricting order that went against them recently, this one involving challenges to state House and Senate districts they approved last summer.
Lawyers for the GOP lawmakers filed their formal request for the court to block a three-judge panel’s decision that accepted alterations to two dozen legislative districts made at their request by a court-appointed expert. The judges directed the changes be incorporated into boundaries that didn’t need to be fixed and the amended maps be used in this year’s elections, beginning with candidate filing that starts Feb. 12. Primaries are in May.
Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to block an order by another three-judge panel that determined the state’s congressional map was coated in over-the-top partisan bias that favored Republican candidates. The justices stopped the judges’ demand that new lines be approved by Wednesday.
‘This is a case of deja vu all over again,’ Washington-based attorney Paul Clement wrote in the brief for the GOP lawmakers in seeking a stay, referring to a quote attributed to baseball great Yogi Berra.”
As a lawyer for the Republicans, Clement isn’t right about much, but he’s right in his Yogi Berra characterization. The new appeal is just the latest in an endless string of them from the GOP lawmakers. Using another sports-based reference a few weeks back, I described the Republican strategy in this area as the political equivalent of Dean Smith’s old “four corners offense.”
As they have in the past, the GOP lawmakers are simply trying to run out the clock so they can have yet another election based on illegal maps in 2018. Their bogus argument — that the new and fairer maps present some kind administrative burden — flies in the face of their own action in recent days to commence the process of completely overhauling state judicial districts in recent weeks.
To use yet another sports analogy, the Republicans are throwing a last minute Hail Mary in their never-ending quest to preserve their illegal maps. Let’s hope the Supreme Court doesn’t abet their scam.