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Republican Leaders File Motion To Put Gerrymander Ruling On Hold

13 January 2018

"Prohibiting the state from using the duly enacted districting map that governed its last election cycle is not just practically disruptive, but represents a grave and irreparable sovereign injury", Strach stated in the request for intervention.

Both Steve Miskin, spokesman for the House Republicans, and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati used Wednesday's decision to say that the state's congressional map is constitutional.

"Simply put, after taking months to issue an opinion adopting multiple entirely novel theories of partisan gerrymandering, the three-judge court has given the General Assembly just two weeks to draw a third congressional map, which is sufficiently unlikely to pass the court's muster that the court has already chose to have a special master draw a competing map", Strach said in his court filing.

The plaintiffs in the Pennsylvania case plan to appeal in a case that would go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court. They were meeting privately with their attorneys Wednesday. Two years later in 2013, the Supreme Court threw out the enforcement formula in the Voting Rights Act in 2013, which required changes in voting rules in covered states be cleared by the Justice Department. "I acknowledge freely that this would be a political gerrymander", he said when the map was first proposed.

The judicial branch had to draw the lines in Kansas the last time around.

Additionally, Strach contended, blocking the effects of the order by the three judges would be in keeping what the high court had done in a Wisconsin case that tests the breadth to which lawmakers can redistrict for partisan gain. This date is crucial as filing for candidates in the November congressional election begin on February 12 with the primaries set for May. On top of that, a computer simulation showed that of all the permutations a potential North Carolina congressional map could take, less than 1 percent of them would result in Republicans having control of 11 seats, demonstrating that this outcome was no fluke.

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U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen, who largely agreed with the opinion, rejected the decision to hire a special master before lawmakers have a chance to redraw the maps.

In 1964, the Supreme Court ruled that political districts must hold roughly the same number of voters.

Attorneys for Robert Rucho, chairman of the state's Senate Redistricting Committee for the 2016 Extra Session, and other state officials submitted a request for an emergency stay of the district court order, which ruled the maps constituted an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, to Chief Justice John Roberts on Friday afternoon.

Experts thought it plausible that the court could find partisan gerrymandering at odds with the Fourteenth Amendment, but many were surprised that the judges found it to be in violation of the First Amendment, as well. The motion states the ruling in the Wisconsin case would likely affect North Carolina's case as well. Still, they said it's hard to predict the justices' next step. "It does more damage".

Common Cause and the League of Women Voters argued that the plan violated the Equal Protection Clause because it discriminated against non-Republican voters. It marks the second time this decade that the GOP's congressional boundaries in the state have been thrown out.

J. Michael Bitzer, a professor of political science at Catawba College near Charlotte, told The New York Times that new maps could give some political "hope" to Democrats in time for the midterm elections this year. But there's no question new maps would also leave candidates scrambling, especially Republican incumbents who previously won by less than comfortable margins and Democratic challengers with less name recognition.

Republican Leaders File Motion To Put Gerrymander Ruling On Hold