WASHINGTON – A North Carolina Courthouse rejected a map drawn by the Republican Party of the state’s 14 congressional districts on Wednesday and superseded its own version, the second time in less than two weeks that a court in the state has invalidated the Republican map as partisan violative. give.
The new map, drawn up by a nonpartisan panel of four redistricting experts, appears to divide North Carolina’s congressional districts roughly evenly between Republicans and Democrats, in a states where voters are evenly divided along partisan lines. It gives each side six relatively secure House seats and makes it possible for the other two sides to win.
The map drawn by Republicans that was rejected would give the GOP six safe seats and the Democrats four seats, leaving the remaining four seats overturned.
Suffrage groups and Democrats have argued to block the latest Republican map, saying it illegally favors Republicans. A three-judge panel of the State Superior Court in Raleigh agreed. On Wednesday, it ruled that the latest map did not meet the fairness standards set forth by the state’s Supreme Court on February 4, when that court invalidated the original map issued by the State Supreme Court. state legislatures controlled by the Republican Party.
In the February 4 ruling, State Supreme Court said that the Republican maps of congressional districts and seats in the State Legislature violated a series of provisions in the State Constitution that guarantee freedom of speech, free elections, and equal protection. Any valid map, the judges said, would have to meet “some combination” of five statistical measures of party justice developed by political scientists in recent decades .
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On Wednesday, the Raleigh court approved a Republican map of the State House that all parties to the redistricting lawsuit support and a new Republican map of the state Senate that Plaintiffs in the lawsuit objected.
One plaintiff, the North Carolina Federation of Conservation Voters, said it would appeal the state Senate map to the State Supreme Court. It remains unclear whether other plaintiffs or the Legislature will appeal any of the Raleigh court decisions.
Wednesday’s ruling reinforces the growing importance of state courts in redistricting battles since 2019, when the U.S. Supreme Court held that the partisan issue of gerrymandering was a political matter beyond their jurisdiction. In recent weeks, the State Supreme Court in Ohio has twice rejected the State Legislature’s maps drawn up by a Republican-leaning redistricting committee.
Also on Wednesday, the State Supreme Court in Pennsylvania made its mark on that state’s congressional map, settlement of partisan disputes crossed the line for House seats by choosing a map drawn by a Stanford University political scientist.
Stanford’s map of 17 House seats, proposed by Democratic supporters who filed a redistricting lawsuit last year, seems to give Republicans a pretty safe nine and 8 seats for the Democratic Party, according to an analysis by the Nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. Each party currently holds nine House seats, but Pennsylvania will lose one seat next year due to reallocation following the 2020 census.
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On Tuesday, two Republican candidates for House seats in Pennsylvania asked a federal court to ban state courts from choosing maps, arguing that the federal Constitution reserved that task for legislative bodies. France. There have been suggestions that Republicans in North Carolina might make a similar appeal.
Federal courts have rejected such arguments in the past. But in recent months, four conservative justices on the US Supreme Court have hinted in favor of a new argument, called independent state legislative doctrinethat the state legislatures have full authority over electoral laws without action by Congress.
Any further delay in approving county maps in Pennsylvania or North Carolina could cause election scheduling issues that have already been delayed by litigation. Pennsylvania has extended the deadline for candidates to file in primaries through mid-May because of a dispute over congressional and Republican districts in the state Legislature. asked a court last week to block State and Senate maps drawn by the Legislative Redistribution Committee.
In North Carolina, filings for the primaries will resume on Thursday, but further challenges to any map could delay that.
There is precedent, said Gerry Cohen, a longtime North Carolina Legislative and political expert who sits on the Wake County Board of Elections in Raleigh. “In 2016, we had a separate congressional primary election later that year” because of the map dispute, he said. “So I guess anything is possible.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/23/us/politics/north-carolina-maps-democrats.html North Carolina court adopts new county map, removes GOP . edge