The League of Women Voters and Common Cause has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm a lower court’s second opinion that the state’s 2016 congressional map is the result of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering.
The high court sent League of Women Voters v. Rucho and Common Cause v. Rucho back down to a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina for consideration after justices released opinions in two other similar partisan gerrymandering cases: Gill v. Whitford, a challenge to Republican partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin, and Benisek v. Lamone, a challenge to a Democratic partisan gerrymander in Maryland.
The panel came to the same decision it did the first time around and struck down 13 congressional districts as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders.
“In its thorough decision, the district court scrupulously followed this roadmap,” states one of the motions to affirm the panel’s findings. “For each North Carolina congressional district in which it found standing to allege partisan vote dilution, the court held that the district had packed or cracked Democratic voters. The court further held that a plaintiff living in each district could have been unpacked or uncracked by an alternative map.”
The League of Women Voters plaintiffs ask the high court to summarily affirm the panel’s findings “since this case’s exceptional facts violate any plausible gerrymandering standard.” They acknowledge, however, in the document that the importance of the issue may warrant a full briefing.
Common Cause plaintiffs ask for the same.
“The blatant partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina has robbed voters of their voice for at least three election cycles and it will do so again in November,” said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina. “The legislative leaders’ unmitigated gall in manipulating district lines for partisan power brings into sharp focus how serious partisan gerrymandering is. If the Supreme Court takes this case, we are confident we will ultimately prevail.”
Rick Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California Irvine School of Law, said on his Election Law Blog that he expects the Supreme Court to set the case for argument. He added that he believes the chances the court will affirm the panel’s findings are law with Justice Brett Kavanaugh now on the court.
Read both full requests to affirm below: