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Redistricting Back Before NC Supreme Court

Giant Sloth

The North Carolina Supreme Court on Monday will once again hear arguments over the state's 2011 redistricting plan. The court had already approved the way state lawmakers redrew the voting districts. But the U.S. Supreme Court is ordering North Carolina to take another look.

The U.S. Supreme Court didn't say North Carolina got it wrong, just that it needs to reconsider the case. That's because the nation's highest court updated its guidance, so to speak, on what's OK when it comes to redistricting.

In a case out of Alabama, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Voting Rights Act does not require lawmakers to put a set percentage of African-Americans in majority-minority districts. That's what Republican state lawmakers did after the 2010 Census, and North Carolina lawmakers did something similar. For example, they increased the percentage of African-American voters in former Congressman Mel Watt's district from 44 percent to 51 percent. 

With the new guidance, the Supreme Court told an Alabama court to take another look at its maps, and then it told the North Carolina Supreme Court to do the same.

There are differences between the two cases. Those differences will be a big part of the arguments in Raleigh on Monday.