Court Hands Anti-Gerrymandering Movement Biggest Win Yet

Map from the office of Lt. Gov. Mike Stack

"The task of prescribing election regulations was given, in the first instance, to political actors who make decisions for political reasons", Circuit Court Judge D. Brooks Smith wrote in the majority opinion in the case delivered by a court that was split 2-1.

The decision may also lend support to two other challenges to gerrymandering now before the Supreme Court. It redrew its U.S. House district map to keep a red lock on its congressional delegation-which was struck down this week.

"Simply put, after taking months to issue an opinion adopting multiple entirely novel theories of partisan gerrymandering, the three-judge court has given the General Assembly just two weeks to draw a third congressional map, which is sufficiently unlikely to pass the court's muster that the court has already made a decision to have a special master draw a competing map", Strach said in his court filing.

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. They were meeting privately with their attorneys Wednesday.

"We obviously disagree with the ruling", House Speaker Tim Moore of Cleveland County told reporters, "and will take it up to the highest court available".

Meanwhile, Democrats and voting rights activists noted this was the latest in a series of court losses for GOP lawmakers involving the state's congressional and legislative maps.

Tuesday's "decision is a mammoth decision", said the Rev. Anthony Spearman, the state NAACP president. After the 2010 election where a Tea Party wave elected a GOP state legislative majority, Republicans controlled the redistricting process.

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The motion says there's also not enough time for the judges to review a new map before candidate filing begins February 12. Wynn serves on the separate judicial panels handling the legislative and congressional redistricting lawsuits. Johnson sees the proposed proof for the plaintiff has multiple parts. A Supreme Court ruling could change the way that electoral districts are drawn around the country.

Attorneys for Robert Rucho, chairman of the state's Senate Redistricting Committee for the 2016 Extra Session, and other state officials submitted a request for an emergency stay of the district court order, which ruled the maps constituted an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, to Chief Justice John Roberts on Friday afternoon. If the court finds that the new map is still too partisan, it will draw its own map. "In the last couple of years, several have been filed, one in Wisconsin, another in Maryland and another in North Carolina". Still, they said it's hard to predict the justices' next step.

He said his map was "fair, allows voters to truly select their congressman, and allows communities with similar regional interests to have representation from a single member of Congress". "It does more damage".

State Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse said the districts "are fair and were drawn following all known rules, and existing case law".

This latest action vividly demonstrates the need to develop and implement a non-partisan system - a redistricting commission - to draw legislative, congressional and judicial district election lines.

Two years ago, the panel dismissed two districts initially drawn up in 2011 for being predominantly black. Yet, by a not-so-strange circumstance, Republicans won 10 of those seats.

"They have to reintroduce themselves", he said of the incumbents. "They could get new voters in a different area that may not even know who these people are".

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