U.S. Supreme Court Affirms North Carolina’s 2011 Congressional Maps are an Unconstitutional Racial Gerrymander


CLC's partisan gerrymander challenge to the state's maps will move forward

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court today, in Cooper v. Harris, affirmed a three-judge court’s decision finding that the North Carolina General Assembly used race as a predominant factor in drawing two districts in its 2011 congressional map. The lower court deemed the districts to be unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.

“The Supreme Court, in affirming the lower court opinion, sends a message that legislators cannot target and unnecessarily pack black voters in redistricting, even if their end goal is political advantage, as the legislators argued,” said Ruth Greenwood, deputy director of redistricting at Campaign Legal Center (CLC). “In other words, politicians cannot purposefully use and sort voters by race merely to achieve partisan ends.”

CLC submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the North Carolina voters who challenged North Carolina’s racial gerrymander. The League of Women Voters, the Voting Rights Institute, the Racial Justice Project at New York Law School, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the National Association of Social Workers also signed on to the brief. 

Read our case page on Cooper v. Harris.

Because the 2011 districts were struck down by the district court, the General Assembly redrew a new congressional map in 2016 to have a severe pro-Republican tilt, which the plan’s architects freely admit “would be a political gerrymander.” CLC and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, have filed a lawsuit, League of Women Voters of North Carolina v. Rucho, challenging the 2016 map as a partisan gerrymander. The case is set for trial in June 2017. 

Read our case page in League of Women Voters of North Carolina v. Rucho.