Friday, 21 September, 2018

Pennsylvania Keeps Congressional Map Day After North Carolina's Is Thrown Out

A federal appeals court panel struck down this NC Congressional district map adopted in 2016 on Jan. 9 2018 A federal appeals court panel struck down this NC Congressional district map adopted in 2016 on Jan. 9 2018
Patty Aguilar | 13 January, 2018, 03:51

North Carolina is home to at least three congressional districts that could be competitive in November.

The General Assembly has been ordered to approve a new set of districts by January 24.

Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access. They argued the latest redraw for the racially drawn districts contained unlawful partisan gerrymanders.

Regardless of any predictions or eventual outcomes from higher courts, the over-the-top partisan gerrymandering is a big issue and will likely - AND SHOULD - loom large during this year's congressional and legislative elections.

The justices might be likely to put a hold on the lower court order because they are now considering two other cases on partisan gerrymandering, including one about Wisconsin statehouse districts that is expected to determine whether maps can be challenged at all on the basis that they entrench a benefit to one political party over another.

The North Carolina lawmakers who filed the application are Sen. Osteen dissented from his colleagues on that point, but agreed overall that the maps were unconstitutional. The evidence showed the "plan achieved the General Assembly's discriminatory partisan objective", U.S. Circuit Judge Jim Wynn wrote in the case's chief opinion. They believe that Republican legislators went beyond what was outlined when following criteria created to maintain their 10 to 3 majority in the state. The head of North Carolina's Republican Party, Dallas Woodhouse, called out one of the judges for "waging a personal, partisan war on North Carolina Republicans", an especially rich claim coming from a party found guilty of waging a personal, partisan war on fair elections.

Everyone knows that partisan redistricting is common practice, but the American people have been fairly helpless to prevent it. The judges explained to the GOP that they would hire a redistricting expert to draw the new district boundaries if they failed to.

The comment by Lewis has provided the underpinnings for a lawsuit that sets North Carolina apart from other partisan gerrymander challenges.

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In the 2-1 ruling on Pennsylvania's case, a judge found that the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the idea that district maps should be blind to party considerations.

When Republican Gov. Pat McCrory lost his re-election that fall-a statewide race, so there was no gerrymander-he quickly accused the Democrats of voter fraud, but offered no proof, as Democracy North Carolina documented in an extensive report. Still, they said it's hard to predict the justices' next step.

Two years later in 2013, the Supreme Court threw out the enforcement formula in the Voting Rights Act in 2013, which required changes in voting rules in covered states be cleared by the Justice Department.

News of the ruling brought quick applause from Democrats and swift criticism from Republicans. Johnson, a lecturer in journalism, is available to speak with media about the decision, election law, gerrymandering, possible appeals to the case, similar cases before the Supreme Court and related issues. Ralph Hise, chairman of the Senate Redistricting Committee, indicated the committee will be appealing the ruling.

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

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.

However, in a statement from State Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25), he says the lawsuit should be put to rest.

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