Medical

NC GOP officials ask Supreme Court to block gerrymandering ruling

NC GOP officials ask Supreme Court to block gerrymandering ruling

The federal judges announced that they would employ "a special master", a mapmaker unaffiliated with either party, to draw maps they could consider alongside any put forward by the lawmakers.

Lawmakers suggest that the more "sensible course" is to stay the federal court's decision until the U.S. Supreme Court makes its decision in a separate partisan gerrymandering case out of Wisconsin, Gill v. Whitford.

A panel of federal judges on Tuesday declared North Carolina's congressional map an "unconstitutional gerrymander", giving lawmakers just two weeks to map new districts.

It is the first time in history that a USA federal court has struck down any kind of federal districting based on partisan gerrymandering.

Judges appointed by former presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Barack Obama unanimously condemned Republican legislators' violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal-protection clause.

The filing period for candidates in the 2018 elections in North Carolina is set to open February 12.

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.

They request a ruling from the highest court by January 22.

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North Carolina is so narrowly and deeply divided that, last November, voters ousted a conservative governor in favor of Democrat Roy Cooper - but elected a Republican lieutenant governor as his partner.

State Rep. David Lewis, a lawmaker involved in the GOP's gerrymandering effort, in 2016 to "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 11 Republicans and two Democrats".

In the request to Roberts on Friday, appellate lawyer Paul Clement, argued the court only gave them 14 days to enact a new map and accused the court of disrupting North Carolina's congressional elections.

A different three-judge panel that also includes Wynn is considering state House and state Senatedistricts. The motion states the ruling in the Wisconsin case would likely affect North Carolina's case as well.

While courts have found that gerrymandering on a racial basis is clearly unconstitutional, they had yet to rule definitively on whether partisanship alone could yield unconstitutional voting maps.

Several times over the past three decades, primary elections were delayed either in whole or in part for district maps that had to be redrawn.

New maps were drawn after that and new elections held. "Who knows what might happen".


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