For the first time ever, a Federal Court has assessed a North Carolinian, Republican-drawn Congressional map illegal due to the heavy partisanship that gives the GOP an election advantage by being unconstitutionally gerrymandered. The ruling orders the North Carolina General Assembly to redraw districts by January 24th and will hire a redistricting expert if the legislature doesn’t follow through.
In a 191-page opinion, Judge James A. Wynn Jr. wrote: “We agree with plaintiffs that a wealth of evidence proves the General Assembly’s intent to ‘subordinate’ the interests of non-Republican voters and ‘entrench’ Republican domination of the state’s congressional delegation,”
In the debate, House redistricting chief Rep. David Lewis explained the North Carolina map with the following justification: “I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats. So I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country.”
In 2016, Republicans took 10 of the state’s 13 seats with 53 percent of the vote. The ruling also argues that the map violates the First Amendment by burdening the free speech of voters who do not support Republicans. In other words, it’s a matter of proportional representation.
Gerrymandering has become an increasingly hot topic in recent years, with Wisconsin’s Supreme Court gerrymandering case currently ongoing. Wisconsin has undergone a takeover of red seats in recent years despite receiving fewer votes than Democrats. As the NYTimes Mag points out, in 2008, Democrats received 56 percent of the vote and held 52 seats. In the 2016 election, after the districts were redrawn, Democrats received 53 percent of total state votes but held only 39 seats to the Republicans 60.
Republicans are now expected to bring this to the Supreme Court.