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FAIR: The Supreme Court just let down Republicans in two states trying to keep gerrymandered maps

FAIR: The Supreme Court just let down Republicans in two states trying to keep gerrymandered maps

FAIR: The Supreme Court just let down Republicans in two states trying to keep gerrymandered maps

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The U.S. Supreme Court just disappointed Republicans in North Carolina and Pennsylvania who were seeking to overturn lower court rulings that threw out the gerrymandered redistricting maps that the GOP had concocted and replaced them with less partisan congressional maps determined by those lower courts.

The new maps are likely to be more favorable to Democratic candidates than the Republican-designed maps that were found to have violated the principles of free and fair elections.

GOP leaders in North Carolina were attempting to prevent the court-imposed redistricting maps from taking effect by using an unprecedented legal strategy, arguing that the state judiciary did not have the authority to mandate new maps — even after finding that the Republicans’ own efforts were unconstitutional under state law because the U.S. Consitution assigns responsibility for redistricting to legislatures, not courts.

The Supreme Court’s ruling indicates that that line of argument isn’t likely to fly anytime soon. Although three of the Court’s conservative justices seemed anxious to consider the matter, they were thwarted by a fourth Justice who felt that it was simply too close to the election to make further changes that could disrupt the primaries scheduled between now and November.

The situation in the Pennsylvania case was somewhat different than the North Carolina case.

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In a challenge brought by Republican voters and candidates, the Supreme Court declined to order an injunction after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court imposed a redistricting map of their own after the map drawn up by the Republican-controlled legislature was vetoed by Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor Tom Wolf.

North Carolina has a similar split in their state government, with a Democratic Governor, Roy Cooper, a GOP-controlled legislature, and a Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court. 

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According to an account in The Washington Post:

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“The four Democrats on the state supreme court said the redistricting maps passed by the legislature after the 2020 Census had a partisan tilt ‘not explained by the political geography of North Carolina.’”

“The court concluded the maps ‘are unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt under the free elections clause, the equal protection clause, the free speech clause, and the freedom of assembly clause of the North Carolina Constitution.’”

Given the voting restrictions being passed by Republican legislatures across the country, and in the absence of the passage of a new voting rights bill, today’s Supreme Court ruling is welcome news to democracy advocates seeking to eliminate unfair partisan gerrymandering in congressional elections and could help Democrats retain their majority in the House of Representatives in the midterm elections later this year.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.  

Original reporting by Robert Barnes in The Washington Post.

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Vinnie Longobardo
Managing Editor
Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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