A federal judge ruled on Monday that North Carolina’s congressional districts aren’t constitutional since the Republican party seems to have drawn them in a way that favors their party. This is not the first time that conclusion has been drawn, as Monday’s statement was a re-examination of a decision by the Supreme Court.
The revision of the congressional districts was ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court, and followed a case presented by election advocacy groups and Democrats. Their lawsuit challenged the divisions made for the 2016 elections, which they believed were deliberately designed to influence its outcome. The three-judge panel that recently ruled in their favor has also stated the possibility of them indicating legislators to redraw the maps by mid-September. This deadline would installed in order to use the new maps in this November’s midterm elections. The panel has also considered bringing outside help to do so, and will delay the printing of ballots for them to suit the upcoming changes.
The majority opinion stated:
In such circumstances, we decline to rule out the possibility that the state should be enjoined from conducting any further congressional elections using the 2016 plan.”
The Republican legislators being sued are likely to appeal the court’s decision, which would delay the creation of a new map. The lawsuit’s plaintiffs have also realized this and have warned the court that, if an appealing was made, the new maps wouldn’t be used until the 2020 elections. The decision is also likely to cause confusion among North Carolinian voters, which would further complicate this year’s midterms.
According to the plaintiffs, Republican lawmakers used political data to design congressional districts in a way that would make their party retain a 10-3 majority within the delegation. Addressing this, the majority’s representative wrote:
[The U.S. Constitution] does not allow elected officials to enact laws that distort the marketplace of political ideas so as to intentionally favor certain political beliefs, parties, or candidates and disfavor others.”