U.S. Supreme Court Delays Redrawing Of N.C. General Assembly Districts
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday granted the North Carolina legislature's request to delay the redrawing of state House and Senate districts. A lower court had ordered the state to do that this year in order to fix racial gerrymanders.
During the 2011 redistricting process, Republican state lawmakers bulked up the number of African-Americans in a few state House and Senate districts. Since African-Americans tend to vote Democratic, that made the surrounding districts easier for Republicans to win.
Courts have generally ruled if that kind of change is all about politics, it's OK. But a federal three-judge panel ruled in August that lawmakers put too much emphasis on race in this case, and that violates the constitution.
The judges directed the state to draw new maps by March and hold new elections this fall. But now, the U.S. Supreme Court has put that on hold pending appeal. The brief Supreme Court order does not give reasoning or say which justices voted which way.
The justices have already heard oral arguments in another North Carolina redistricting case. That one was about racial gerrymanders in the state's Congressional districts, and a ruling could come anytime.