Republicans lose long shot redistricting appeal in U.S. Supreme CourtBy Cash Michaels, Peacemaker Senior Contributor / March 11, 2022
It was always a long shot, N.C. Republican legislative leaders seeking to overturn a major redistricting ruling by the state Supreme Court.
So when the 6-3 decision came down late Monday to deny the GOP – even with a 6-3 conservative majority on the U.S. High Court – it wasn’t that much of a surprise to most legal experts.
There just wasn’t enough time between now and the May 17th primaries, and as several legal observers noted, the Supreme Court does not like getting into state redistricting controversies unless there is evidence of racial discrimination.
If the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in favor of the GOP appeal, it would have forced the N.C. Board of Elections to change all of its primary election planning, something the federal justices did not want to do, especially with candidate filing ending just last Friday.
Plus, the N.C. Supreme Court had spoken by ruling 4-3 that the redistricting maps for 2022 legislative and congressional contests were unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. The court ordered the Republican-led legislature to redraw them, and that a three-judge Superior Court panel would review them, and decide if they were acceptable.
The panel did exactly that, deciding that the legislative maps were fine, but the 14-district congressional map was problematic, and had outside special masters to redraw it, to the chagrin of GOP leaders.
They immediately rejected the congressional map, citing that per the U.S. Constitution, only the state legislature is empowered to redrawn the voting districts.
Apparently by a 6-3 vote Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed, effectively allowing the second redrawn maps to stand, and giving Democrats a better opportunity to win competitive legislative and congressional races.
Under the new congressional maps, Democrats can win at least six seats, with Republicans winning seven, leaving one as a competitive tossup.
Republicans aren’t all that gloomy though; the way they see it, if they can win at least one of two N.C. Supreme Court seats up for election this fall that would immediately shift the 4-3 Democratic majority to 4-3 Republican, that and holding onto their GOP majorities in the N.C. General Assembly.
The GOP can sue again to send the new maps up to their majority Supreme Court, and have new, favorable maps for the rest of the decade, they say.