NC GOP officials ask Supreme Court to block gerrymandering ruling


"The Supreme Court in 2004 said that there is such a thing as partisan gerrymandering, but we're just not quite sure how its proved", said Mark Johnson, an election law and First Amendment expert at the University of Kansas.

The court cast aside the argument that districts should not consider politics, saying partisanship is part of the system.

Allison Riggs, lead trial attorney for the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, which is challenging the map along with Common Case in two separate cases that were consolidated, called the officials' request inappropriate.

It will be up to the nation's top court to sort out which ruling was right - or whether there's some wrinkle that makes them both valid. North Carolina is nearly a 50-50 state as a whole, so one would expect the electoral numbers in Congressional races to be closer to even.

How long will North Carolinians have to suffer the hyper-partisan excesses of the current leadership of the General Assembly? "Only the Supreme Court can make the final decision", she said.

Republican lawmakers are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to block the ruling this week that struck down North Carolina's congressional districts - at least temporarily - and they want an answer by January 22.

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North Carolina voters have elected congressional representatives in three election cycles this decade with maps that have been declared unconstitutional by the courts.

But Republicans plan to fight the ruling, to the Raleigh News & Observer.

The cases could create a standard for determining when states have crossed the line and drawn districts to increase the political power of one party over another.

Pennsylvania is a political swing state by many measures. They will likely reach out to the U.S. Supreme Court to interfere by blocking the enforcement of the ruling until they come to a decision on a similar case out of Wisconsin involving partisan gerrymandering.

"Prohibiting the State from using the duly enacted districting map that governed its last election cycle on the eve of the commencement of the 2018 election cycle is not just practically disruptive, but represents a grave and irreparable sovereign injury", they wrote.

But when it comes to the U.S. House, Republicans have dominated, winning 13 of the state's 18 seats in each of the last three elections.

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In addition, the state's been embroiled in legal challenges to district maps based on racial gerrymandering claims.

The plaintiffs contended that that diluted their voice and resulted in policies that don't represent Pennsylvania. "For the last dozen or so years, there weren't a lot of these cases".

The plaintiffs' lawyers said the Elections Clause in the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted to mean states can't give either party an advantage.

But the process of court approval for any new maps is not scheduled to be finished until after the filing period is scheduled to start.

Legislative Republican leaders on Wednesday filed documents in that case, arguing the Democratic voters who sued "are attempting to achieve through the courthouse what they could not in the voting booths".

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