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Right-Wing NC Supreme Court Acts On ‘Raw Partisanship,’ Poses Challenge For Fair Voting Maps Advocates

Source: News & Observer

According to experts on both sides of the aisle, state Republicans drawing gerrymandered maps may face fewer hurdles this year due to the newly elected Republican-majority high court.

Following the midterm elections, the former 4-3 Democratic majority state Supreme Court was replaced with a 5-2 Republican majority. 

State Republicans have already taken advantage of this victory, requesting the state’s high court to rehear cases that were already ruled upon late last year under the former Democratic majority

One case in particular deals with the controversial partisan gerrymandered maps, which have been ruled unconstitutional. 

Historically, state Republican lawmakers have repeatedly tried to give themselves political advantages through racially-motivated gerrymandering compounded with voter ID laws. Back in 2013, federal appellate judges struck down one of the most egregious Republican-led measures, stating that the law’s restrictions “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

However, with the court’s new Republican majority, voting rights advocates and political experts may face a harder time protecting voters from another round of discriminatory voting maps.

“For this Court to reopen rulings just weeks after they were decided is unprecedented and appalling and indicates that these justices reject the idea of an independent judiciary and swear allegiance to the whims of the Republican legislative leadership,” stated Gov. Roy Cooper following the new court’s decision to rehear the gerrymandering case.

According to Asher Hildebrand, a public policy professor at Duke University in an interview with Reuters, the state court’s decision to rehear the gerrymandering case, rather than wait for new maps that would then be subject to litigation, signals that the Republican justices are acting out of “raw partisanship”.

If state Republicans are allowed to implement more egregious gerrymandered maps this time around, the result could flip three or four Democratic seats just in North Carolina, according to Reuters

Reuters further reports that this flip alone could nearly double Republicans’ current narrow margin in the U.S. House of Representatives in next year’s elections.

Read more at The News & Observer.

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