Voters Urge U.S. Supreme Court to Agree That North Carolina Congressional Map is an Unconstitutional Partisan Gerrymander
WASHINGTON – Plaintiffs in North Carolina’s partisan gerrymandering challenge, League of Women Voters of North Carolina v. Rucho, filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court today asking the court to affirm the lower court’s ruling that found the entire state’s plan to be an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. In February, the Supreme Court denied expedited briefing in the case, but it still has the ability to affirm the district court’s decision and order fair maps to be drawn in the state soon thereafter.
The Campaign Legal Center (CLC) the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ), and University of Chicago Professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos represent plaintiffs in the case. They jointly filed the brief on behalf of their clients, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and 12 individual North Carolina voters.
“The district court unanimously and correctly found that North Carolina lawmakers manipulated the state’s congressional voting maps to lock in their own political party’s power, with little regard for the will of voters,” said Paul Smith, vice president at CLC, who argued CLC’s landmark partisan gerrymandering case out of Wisconsin, Gill v. Whitford, before the Supreme Court on October 3. “North Carolina has one of the most severely gerrymandered maps in modern American history. North Carolina voters have endured three election cycles with a skewed congressional map. The Supreme Court must affirm the lower court’s ruling, because even a single election under an unconstitutional map is one too many.”
"The congressional maps drawn in North Carolina would be unconstitutional under virtually any meaningful legal standard the court adopts," said Allison Riggs, senior voting rights attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. "We are hopeful that the court will recognize the glaring unconstitutionality of the plan and affirm the lower court's ruling.
Evidence presented at trial in 2017 demonstrated that the Republican plan to use political data in drawing this map to gain partisan advantage worked exactly as expected. In the 2016 election, Republican congressional candidates in North Carolina won ten out of thirteen seats, even though the statewide vote was nearly tied and North Carolina is a purple state. An expert that examined the map determined that the North Carolina plan exhibited the largest partisan bias of any congressional map in the country.
This term, the Supreme Court will decide CLC’s case challenging Wisconsin’s state assembly map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. CLC and co-counsel represent 11 Wisconsin voters in the landmark case, Gill v. Whitford. The federal district court in North Carolina applied the same tests for measuring partisan symmetry as were applied in the Wisconsin case, indicating that there is a manageable way to consistently measure what constitutes an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander
Read more about the case League of Women Voters of North Carolina v. Rucho.