North Carolina gerrymandering decision draws comments from KU professor

North Carolina gerrymandering decision draws comments from KU professor

Closer to home, the motion notes the candidate filing period is due to begin here in just about a month. The judicial panel wrote it would hire a special master to draw lines simultaneously in case the legislators don't, or if the judges decide the legislature's next edition of the map doesn't meet constitutional muster.

The petitioners object to the bi-partisan redistricting plan passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor in 2011.

The three-judge said the North Carolina General Assembly must redraw the districts by January 29. Wynn Jr. was the first time a federal appeals court struck down a congressional map as an illegal partisan gerrymander.

North Carolina Republican legislative leaders asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to block enforcement of an order throwing out the state's congressional map because the lines were too partisan and directing a redraw nearly immediately.

The problem North Carolina has is people who crowed too much about their accomplishment. Osteen dissented from his colleagues on that point, but agreed overall that the maps were unconstitutional. That decision, like this week's ruling over the illegal partisan gerrymander, cited boasts by leading North Carolina Republicans about hijacking the process. Legislative Republican leaders on Wednesday filed documents in that case, arguing the Democratic voters who sued "are attempting to achieve through the courthouse what they could not in the voting booths".

Do you think district maps can ever be completely fair?

"I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats because I do not believe it's possible to draw a map with eleven Republicans and two Democrats", Lewis said at the time.

The timing of the ruling is especially exciting for liberals and non-partisans. But voting rights organizations have pushed for changes to that, saying modern mapmaking technology has allowed candidates for elected office to choose their voters under new redistricting plans instead of letting voters choose who represents them.

When Republican Gov. Pat McCrory lost his re-election that fall-a statewide race, so there was no gerrymander-he quickly accused the Democrats of voter fraud, but offered no proof, as Democracy North Carolina documented in an extensive report.

A separate challenge to Pennsylvania's congressional map is pending before the state Supreme Court, which has scheduled oral arguments on the topic for next week in Harrisburg.

An appeal would go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the ruling puts Republicans in a tight spot. Ralph Hise, chairman of the Senate Redistricting Committee, indicated the committee will be appealing the ruling.

In a 2-1 ruling, judges rejected an argument from a group of Democratic voters that politics should not be considered at all when congressional districts are drawn. But even if the redrawing is postponed, a political scientist says resentment of "greedy" Republican maps could aid left-leaning candidates now armed with blunt language from federal judges. Currently, there are only three Democrats out of the state's 13 U.S. House seats.

Dallas Wodehouse, the executive director of the North Carolina GOP, blasted Wynn, an Obama appointee, on Twitter. "It is incredibly disappointing activist Judge Jim Wynn is waging a personal, partisan war on North Carolina Republicans", Woodhouse said on Twitter. The federal judges want the districts to be redrawn immediately by the GOP. "This is a hostile takeover of the (state legislature) #NCGA and legislative bodies across the U.S".

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