Saturday, February 06, 2016

A Sleeper Redistricting Court Challenge Suddenly Explodes Over the Blue Skies of North Carolina

No one in particular was watching the court challenge to the redistricting of two congressional districts filed over two years ago, but late yesterday plaintiffs David Harris, Christine Bowser, and Samuel Love suddenly prevailed in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The three-judge panel unanimously threw out the racial gerrymandering of Congressional District 1 and District 12. It was a blistering opinion. The judges gave the NC General Assembly exactly two weeks to fix the problem.

Meanwhile, all adjoining and abutting congressional districts will be impacted by any fix, which is throwing the March primary -- another bright idea of the Republican geniuses in the General Assembly -- into chaos and doubt. We intercepted the following opinion from a legal authority with expertise in election law:
The ruling throws the March 15 primary into chaos, as the judges ordered state lawmakers to redraw the maps within two weeks and not to hold any elections for U.S. House until the maps are in place. A special session of the legislature would have to be called to approve new maps, and they might have to pass federal muster again.
Of course, the redistricting masterminds in the Republican Party promise a quick appeal to the Supreme Court, which will further drag out the resolution of this colossal mess the legislators have created. They want to blame the courts, but that dog won't hunt: the courts are there for the redress of grievances, and there are grievances aplenty with this General Assembly.

How much chaos is enough chaos? We've gotten it in spades from those guys, as they tried to legislate North Carolina back into the 19th century, and court after court has slapped them down hard.

The chief drawers of those redistricting maps claimed over and over that racial considerations were never a part of their calculations. No one with at least two working synapses believed them. Neither did the judges on the 4th Circuit: “The record is replete with statements indicating that race was the legislature’s paramount concern,” the judges wrote.

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