Federal Court Strikes Down North Carolina Congressional Plan as Unconstitutional Partisan Gerrymander
GREENSBORO, N.C. – A three-judge panel for North Carolina’s Middle District has struck down North Carolina’s 2016 congressional plan as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. For the first time in history, a federal court struck down a congressional voting map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. The 2016 plan was developed after a federal court invalidated two congressional districts as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. When the legislature purported to “remedy” that racially gerrymandered plan with an unabashed and admitted partisan gerrymander, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and several voters from across the state filed suit. CLC's redistricting team and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice represented the North Carolina League of Women Voters in the case.
Ruth Greenwood, senior legal counsel, voting rights and redistricting at Campaign Legal Center (CLC) issued the following statement after the opinion was released:
“The court handed voters a major victory today by reinforcing the core principle that voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around. North Carolina should take this opportunity to draw a fair map that does not discriminate against voters. And marginalized voters in other states should be encouraged that the courts have adopted a standard for measuring partisan symmetry that can be used to set limits on the practice of gerrymandering nationwide.”
Per the ruling, the North Carolina General Assembly has until January 29 to enact a remedial plan; the federal court plans to employ a special master to draw an alternative remedial plan, and the remedial plan should be enacted before the 2018 congressional elections.