Congressional map redistricting is always an issue regardless of which party is doing it. However, it seems Democrats are having especially good luck this time around.
The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled against keeping the Republican-drawn congressional map submitted in November, Breitbart reported. The 4-3 decision was handed down Friday sending the GOP back to the drawing board.
The vote was split along party lines, with all four Democratic judges voting to strike down the map. The map would have given the GOP control of 10 of the 14 districts in North Carolina until the new maps are drawn again in 10 years.
The GOP judges were willing to let it stand as is, however. Republican Chief Justice Paul Newby said in his dissenting opinion that it “violates separation of powers by effectively placing responsibility for redistricting with the judicial branch, not the legislative branch as expressly provided in our constitution.”
“Unless and until the people alter the law to either limit or prohibit the practice of partisan gerrymandering, this Court is without any satisfactory or manageable legal standard and thus must refuse to resolve such a claim,” he said. The Democratic judges saw it differently.
The majority opinion was that the map was “unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt under the free elections clause, the equal protection clause, the free speech clause and the freedom of assembly clause of North Carolina’s constitution.” This was echoed by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein who called the decision “fantastic news for voters and the health of our democracy.”
Republicans will have until 5:00 p.m. on Feb. 18 to submit the new map which will have to be approved beginning with the original three-judge panel that approved the last one. The lower court will then have to approve it by Feb. 23. The plaintiffs in the case will also have their own opportunity to submit their own versions of the maps.
One of the spoils of electoral victory is the chance to redraw the congressional maps. However, it seems the Democrats on the court are not about to be gracious losers.