What’s Going to Happen with a Challenge to North Carolina’s Congressional District Partisan Gerrymander? Two Significant Hurdles to a Lawsuit.

from Election Law Blog

Democrats are now pondering a state court challenge to North Carolina’s partisan gerrymandering of the state’s 13 congressional districts, following a state court ruling that the state legislative districts are a partisan gerrymander. The U.S. Supreme Court in the Rucho case rejected a challenge to North Carolina’s congressional districts based on the U.S. constitution but that would not preclude a state constitutional challenge. But there are two significant hurdles.

More here.

, , ,

2 Responses to What’s Going to Happen with a Challenge to North Carolina’s Congressional District Partisan Gerrymander? Two Significant Hurdles to a Lawsuit.

  1. Kathleen Watts September 6, 2019 at 7:25 pm #

    As we get closer and closer to possibly one of the most interesting presidential election cycles of this generation, we can see all the factors that could drastically change results. From CEOs running for president to infringements on federal law, anything could happen at this point. While there are many rumors of Russian intervention affecting the results of the 2016 election, this time the issue might be more homegrown. This won’t be the first time that North Carolina’s districting has been brought into question. In 1993, in the landmark Shaw v. Reno case, there was an accusation of racial gerrymandering in which a slither of pink that ran diagonally through the state encompassed basically all of its black residents in a segratory fashion. The district lines were thrown out by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote for Shaw. In this case, an accusation of partisan gerrymandering, backed up by a state court decision, is on the table. Since the beginning of the last election cycle, around 2014, politics has become remarkably split and divisive. People on both sides started getting incredibly defensive and closed minded, cutting off close friends and sometimes family members for declaring to vote for the other party. Accusations from both candidates were thrown and debates started to look more like arguments between siblings instead of the professional debates that they were. Many think that these are new problems, but they are absolutely not. Even since the beginning of the two-party system, you can see clear signs of these same issues, with people attempting to kill the President they didn’t want in office, with two succeeding. In this case in particular, these lines were drawn nearly ten years ago, when Obama was in the middle of his first term and Democrats had a lot of power, just not over North Carolina. The fact that is took this long for this to become an issue, with the first case against it coming up last year, might be surprising to some, but I believe that the opposition probably weren’t too concerned until they saw how it affected the 2016 election and how this issue will have the same effect on the 2020 election. The question now is, will this problem be solved before the 2020 election cycle? Even if this does reach the Supreme Court, there is a high probability that the ruling will be no different than the one turned out during Rucho in which the Supreme Court decided that the districts had not been gerrymandered. This might be one of the Supreme Court Cases that defines our generation for years to come, or might fly pretty much under the radar. If the districts do get changed before the 2020 election, that could drastically change North Carolina’s overall decision and where the majority of their electoral votes go. If districts are drawn to favor Democrats, theoretically, that would be a drastic change. This could get very interesting, or very boring.

  2. Stephen Hoffman September 13, 2019 at 1:21 pm #

    Stories like this makes me wish individuals placed more of an emphasis on the importance of midterm elections. While the House, Senate, and executive rarely share the same political party, if this were to be the cases the power possessed by this party would be immense and relatively unchecked (especially with a right-leaning Supreme Court). Gerrymandering is one of the greatest inequities within the American political and legal system. Parties having the ability to split up voting districts based on political lines in order to give a candidate a better chance at winning an election is antithetical to the idea of a representative democracy, one that the framers kept in mind at all times. This type of power and abuse of it goes further than electing certain candidates, as it actually hurts the effected people within the districts. Individuals lose their ability for their vote to matter in a system that allows for gerrymandering, and that practice needs to be done away with in order for the system to reach its potential. The system takes advantage of people’s indifference to non-presidential elections, and it is unfair and anti-democratic.
    When the Rucho case went to the Supreme Court, I was hopeful that we would finally reach a consensus on the unfairness and inequity behind gerrymandering, and was subsequently incredibly disappointed when the court left the power to rule against gerrymandering to congress, the exact individuals who benefit from the broken system. However, the court ruled against Rucho and opened the door for the practice to continue. With the controversy surrounding the North Carolina congressional map, it seems unlikely to me that anything will actually get done before the 2020 election. With cases not being drawn up yet and the election occurring in just over a year, a constitutional challenge within the state of North Carolina is unlikely given the time it would take for sufficient planning and argument, especially in such a major decision. The courts would have to prepare too much and the case itself would likely be drawn out in an effort to prevent its impact from being felt in 2020. This is the unfortunate reality of the legal and electoral system in today’s United States, making true electoral fairness difficult to achieve.

Leave a Reply