NC Gerrymandered Map Ruled Unconstitutional By Panel Of Judges

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Judges appointed by former presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Barack Obama unanimously condemned Republican legislators' violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal-protection clause.

Roy Cooper railed against gerrymandering in his home state Thursday after federal judges said this week that congressional districts would have to be redrawn because they were unconstitutionally partisan.

"The ruling comes in cases filed by the League of Women Voters and Common Cause in North Carolina stemming from maps adopted in 2016 during a special legislative session". Mark Johnson, an election law and First Amendment expert at the University of Kansas, said the case - the first in which a federal court has struck down a statewide congressional map because of partisan districting - will have long-lasting legal effects. North Carolina Republican legislative leaders asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, January 12, 2018, to block enforcement of an order throwing out the state's congressional map because the lines were too partisan and directing a redraw nearly immediately.

"We're enormously gratified on behalf of our clients and all voters in North Carolina that no one will have to endure another congressional election under an unconstitutional map", said Allison Riggs, senior voting rights attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which represented some of the challengers.

In the state's 2011 redistricting plan, voters claim Democratic state officials meant to dilute the votes of Republicans in the state's 6th Congressional District who supported the Republican incumbent, then-Rep.

"I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats because I do not believe it's possible to draw a map with eleven Republicans and two Democrats", Lewis said at the time.

And that tight timeline plays a prominent role in this emergency motion.

It throws a new wrinkle and more uncertainty into the 2018 election cycle in North Carolina a month before candidates were scheduled to file for office.

Courts have found in the past that it's wrong to make maps to limit the voices of racial minorities. The federal judges want the districts to be redrawn immediately by the GOP.

"In sum, the three-judge panel has used an entirely novel legal theory to hopelessly disrupt North Carolina's upcoming congressional elections", the document states.

A different three-judge panel that also includes Wynn is considering state House and state Senatedistricts.

New maps were drawn after that and new elections held.

RUSTY JACOBS, BYLINE: A federal court had already found that two of North Carolina's congressional districts drawn in 2011 were illegally racially gerrymandered. "Who knows what might happen".

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