We covered the other day how North Carolina was ordered to redo it’s congressional maps, Court Tells North Carolina to Redraw Congressional Lines by Next Week.

The Supreme Court just issued a Stay of that order.

The application for stay presented to The Chief Justice and by him referred to the Court is granted, and it is ordered that the order of the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, case Nos. 1:16-CV-1026 and 1:16-CV1164, entered January 9, 2018, is stayed pending the timely filing and disposition of an appeal in this Court.

Justice Ginsburg and Justice Sotomayor would deny the application for stay.


Reuters explains the political significance of the current districts:

The three-judge panel ruled that the Republican-drawn districts violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law by intentionally hobbling the electoral strength of non-Republican voters. Two of the three judges also said the plan ran afoul of the Constitution’s First Amendment by discriminating based on political belief and association.

Those judges on Tuesday refused to put the ruling on hold.

North Carolina’s congressional maps were challenged in two lawsuits by more than two dozen Democratic voters, the North Carolina Democratic Party and other groups.

Under current North Carolina congressional boundaries, Republicans won 10 of the 13 House districts in 2016, despite getting just 53 percent of the statewide vote.

The Supreme Court is currently examining two other cases from Wisconsin and Maryland involving claims that electoral districts were manipulated to keep the majority party in power in a manner that violated voters’ constitutional rights. That practice is called partisan gerrymandering.

If the Supreme Court were to find partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional, it would be a first:

The Supreme Court has ruled that racial gerrymandering can violate the Constitution. But it has never struck down a voting map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

Republicans and, in private, many Democrats in North Carolina had expected the Supreme Court to stay last week’s ruling. But elected officials and political strategists had been preparing for the possibility of a hasty redrawing of the congressional map and an upending of carefully laid plans for the midterm campaigns.

Even the brief gap between the trial court’s ruling and the Supreme Court’s order left the state in a fit of paralysis weeks before the deadline to declare candidacies.


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