Court Orders North Carolina to Throw Out ‘Extreme’ GOP Gerrymander

A North Carolina court ordered the state to draw new congressional district maps in time for the 2020 election after finding that the maps drawn by Republican lawmakers had an “extreme partisan” bias, The Raleigh News & Observer reports.

The court ordered the state legislature to redraw the state’s 13 congressional districts after finding that the current maps showed “extreme partisan gerrymandering” which “is contrary to the fundamental right of North Carolina citizens to have elections conducted freely and honestly to ascertain, fairly and truthfully, the will of the people.”

The court blocked the state from using the current maps, approved in 2016, which were drawn after the previous maps, created in 2011, were struck down as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.

The judges said that if new maps are not ready by the March 3 primary the primaries may be delayed.

GOP may appeal the ruling:

With the candidate filing deadline for the 2020 primaries just weeks away, Republicans are said to be mulling appealing the decision.

“But after losing a separate lawsuit last month over the state legislative lines, GOP lawmakers decided not to appeal that ruling and were able to meet the court’s two-week deadline to draw new maps,” The News & Observer reported. “They did so with unprecedented transparency, as ordered by the court, and many of the new legislative maps passed without much political controversy, although some did attract criticism from Democrats.”

Dems expected to pick up seats:

Under the current GOP gerrymander, Democrats hold just 3 of the state’s 13 seats. Democrats are expected to pick up multiple seats if the map is changed in a fair way.

Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias praised the ruling as "a major victory for the voters of North Carolina," who "will finally be able to vote in constitutional districts for 2020."

Rep. Cheri Bustos, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said: "North Carolina just took an important step in the fight to ensure congressional maps are not drawn to protect politicians, but rather to ensure fair representation for the people living in each and every district.”

Republicans said they hope to hold on to at least 8 seats.

“Fundamentally, it would be very, very difficult to keep 10 Republican seats. Nine is certainly possible. Eight is probably the magic number with the redraw,” GOP Rep. David Rouzer told Politico.

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