NC Supreme Court Strikes Down Republican-Drawn Maps in Huge Win for Democrats

On Friday, the North Carolina Supreme Court blocked the new Republican-drawn redistricting maps for the congressional and state legislative races, ruling 4-3 that the new maps violate the constitution due to evidence of gerrymandering.

Cumberland County in a current NC electoral map.

Essentially, gerrymandering is the act of a ruling party drawing maps that deliberately group voters into often strange-shaped districts in order to maximize the number of seats that the party can gain. North Carolina is one of the most notorious states for gerrymandering, as seen in Cumberland County, where the city of Fayetteville is currently split between two congressional districts for example. The new maps that were passed by the majority-GOP legislature in November would’ve most likely helped the Republican party to gain two seats in the U.S. House of Representatives by breaking up Greensboro and Northeastern NC so that the urban (Often Democratic) areas are undermined in the new districts.

The Supreme Court gave the state legislature two weeks to draw new maps and submit them to a lower court for a vote. 

North Carolina’s current electoral map, which the state has been using for the past ten years. @FiveThirtyEight
The proposed map, which was just struck down by the NC Supreme Court. @FiveThirtyEight

Democrats are applauding the Supreme Court for its recent decision: “Voters should choose their representatives; politicians should not choose their voters,” said Congresswoman Kathy Manning (NC-06) in a statement. A healthy democracy requires free elections and the NC Supreme Court is right to order a redraw of unconstitutionally gerrymandered districts,” commented Governor Roy Cooper.

On the other hand, Republicans are criticizing the Supreme Court and pointing out their liberal-leaning majority: “I strongly disagree with the majority opinion. The majority opinion is not based in law, precedent, or the history of this state, but rather the political whims of 4 out of 7 justices,” said NC House Speaker Tim Moore in a statement.

This decision marks a major victory in an uphill battle for North Carolina Democrats, which has come with many struggles, such as the date for statewide primary elections being delayed to May 17th, and is still up for possible change if fair maps aren’t drawn and voted in on time. While Democrats could have possibly broken an ancient cycle of unfair redistricting in North Carolina, many believe that Republicans are set on the Supreme Court and could put their focus on rallying their voters to vote out the liberal-leaning members of the court in November.

The maps mentioned in this article can be found at this link.