Wednesday, September 04, 2019
State Judges Order Redistricting of General Assembly Seats Because of "Extreme Partisan Gerrymandering"
A three-person panel of North Carolina trial judges yesterday whacked the Republican General Assembly upside the head over their most recent gerrymandering of NC House and Senate districts, saying the legislators took "extreme advantage" in drawing voting districts to help elect a maximum number of Republican lawmakers and in the process violated the state constitution's guarantee of free speech and association. The ruling was unanimous and included one Republican judge from Iredell County.
Recently, the US Supremes said that partisan gerrymandering was beyond their powers and said it was up to the states to determine when gerrymandering gets so bad that reasonable men and women have to do something about it.
The ruling yesterday applied to the most recent redistricting in 2017 that was mandated by Federal courts because of extreme racial gerrymandering. The Republicans in the General Assembly answered that court order by doing a different kind of extreme gerrymandering, because they're termites who never lose their taste for the sweet, sweet wood of democracy.
The judges gave the Republicans only two weeks -- until September 18 -- to redraw the maps. Specifically, the ruling applies to nearly half of the state's 120 House districts and 21 of its 50 Senate districts.
Furthermore, the judges imposed new rules on the mapmaking apparently based on past Republican behavior: "The new mapmaking must start from scratch, all map-drawing must occur at public hearings with computer screens visible to everyone, and any consultants hired by lawmakers must be approved by the court." Ouch. (Source: Emery P. Dalesio)
Remarkably, Republican boss on the NC Senate Phil Berger is quoted in this morning's News and Observer saying he doesn't plan to appeal the ruling and that he and his boys would begin redrawing the maps.
This ruling will greatly reshuffle the 2020 elections, and many potential candidates will be studying the new maps like treasure-seekers.