NC Supreme Court declares legislative and congressional maps unconstitutional
State leaders weigh in on the decision
RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - The North Carolina Supreme Court voted to strike down the legislative and congressional maps Friday.
The decision came in a 4-3 party-line vote.
In part, the ruling said, “Achieving partisan advantage incommensurate with a political party’s level of statewide voter support is neither a compelling nor a legitimate governmental interest.”
Following this decision, lawmakers will have until February 18 to redraw the maps for review by the trial court.
According to a tweet by N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein, these are the next steps:
“By 2/21, comments on proposed maps are due. By noon on 2/23, the trial court must decide. By 5 pm on 2/23, parties must appeal and seek stay. Primary date is 5/17 provided defects are fixed.”
In response to the Supreme Court’s decision Governor Roy Cooper issued the following statement:
“A healthy democracy requires free elections and the NC Supreme Court is right to order a redraw of unconstitutionally gerrymandered districts. More work remains and any legislative redraw must reflect the full intent of this decision.”
NC House Speaker Tim Moore responded:
“While we are still analyzing this order, I strongly disagree with the majority opinion. The majority opinion is not based in law, precedent, or the history of this state, but rather the political whims of 4 out of 7 justices.”
He continued, “As the Chief Justice eloquently wrote, this decision ‘.... violates separation of powers by effectively placing responsibility for redistricting with the judicial branch, not the legislative branch as expressly provided in our constitution.’”
North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Bobbie Richardson released this statement:
“Today’s ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court is a win for voters and for democracy. This is a critical and momentous step towards maps that protect the fundamental right to vote. After Republicans lied about their commitment to fairness and cheated using secret concept maps, today’s decision should reassure voters that stealing political power will not be tolerated. As Democrats we remain committed to ensuring North Carolinians can make their voice heard.”
Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), who co-chairs the Senate Redistricting Committee, responded to the vote as follows:
“Democratic judges, lawyers, and activists have worked in concert to transform the Supreme Court into a policymaking body to impose their political ideas. On this and other cases soon to come before them, the justices ‘interpret the Constitution to mean what it would have said if they, instead of the Founding Fathers, had written it,’ in the words of former justice Sam Ervin, Jr.”
According to an earlier tweet by Stein, the Supreme Court, “struck down the legislative and congressional maps as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.”
Stein added that the maps violate a voter’s fundamental right to vote.
“Partisan gerrymandering is offensive to democracy; it’s also contrary to our fundamental constitutional rights,” said Stein in a tweet.
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