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Supreme Court strikes down redrawn North Carolina districts as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders

23 Mai 2017

The goal apparently was to dilute the voting power of African Americans in the Tar Heel State, by consolidating them into just two voting districts.

Such plaintiffs, under Alito's framework, must "come forward with an alternative redistricting map that served the legislature's political objective as well as the challenged version without producing the same racial effects".

Assuming there was no confusion about who is officially representing the state in the voter ID case would the Supreme Court have considered the appeal?

Voting rights advocates said the ruling supports their arguments in yet another case pending before the Supreme Court that challenges North Carolina's state legislative districts. "But, it's not a ruling on the Voter ID law", admits Jonathan Brater, Counsel for the Brennan Center's Democracy Program.

Even though no changes were required in District 12, lawmakers undertook dramatic efforts contending that the changes were made based on political not racial gerrymander. House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger said that "all North Carolinians can rest assured that Republican legislators will continue fighting to protect the integrity of our elections by implementing the commonsense requirement to show a photo ID when we vote'".

Race can be considered in redrawing boundaries of voting districts only in certain instances, such as when states are seeking to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act. The black majority voting population was also increased in District 12 from 43.7% to 50.66%.

HASEN: Now we have this overlapping correlation between race and party, where, especially in the American South, African-American voters are overwhelmingly supporting the Democratic Party, and white voters are overwhelmingly supporting the Republican Party.

Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said the court had rightly recognized that disputed North Carolina districts "were clearly drawn with an intent to illegally pack as many black and Latino voters into as small an area as possible". When our long-standing system breaks down, especially when the AG, governor and legislative leadership might belong to different political parties, how can we avoid overt partisanship?

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in rebuffing a subpoena Monday in the investigation into Russia's election meddling. Pushing more Democrats into the 1st and 12th left adjoining districts with Republican advantages. They point to states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and OH, where Republicans have used party affiliation to give themselves control of most of the congressional seats. Despite ongoing reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act by Congress, the preclearance provision was invalidated in 2013. It's a crucial exercise because partisan gerrymandering is broadly viewed as constitutional, while race-based map-drawing is not. Chief Justice Roberts wrote a two page opinion in the North Carolina case.

Justice Roberts noted in a statement that rejection of North Carolina's appeal is not a comment on the high court's view about the substance of the law. After the census, the map was redrawn to make those districts predominantly Black.

The state argued that it relied on partisan affiliation, not race, in drawing the district lines.

The case was the latest in a number of lawsuits accusing Republicans of trying to limit the influence of black voters by grouping them into districts.

A three-judge federal court had previously struck down the two districts.

Rather than one big, landmark case to cement voting rights as the unencumbered, undisputed "law of the land" in the same way Brown v. Board of Education defined desegregation, advocates point to a strategy in which they battle against a stream of multiple cases.

Supreme Court strikes down redrawn North Carolina districts as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders