We are now in federal court fighting to protect the fairer congressional district map we won through our historic lawsuit against gerrymandering. Pro-polluter legislative leaders appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate that gerrymander, the latest example of their so-called principles taking a distant back seat to preserving their own political power.
As expected, Speaker Tim Moore and company have turned to their last desperate resort. They are asking the court to ignore its own recent precedent in the Rucho v Common Cause case originating from North Carolina, which these same legislators celebrated. In that decision, justices established that federal courts are not the venue for partisan gerrymandering resolutions but that state courts can interpret their own state constitutions to bar it.
If the court rules in legislators’ favor, it would also fly in the face of an even more recent precedent. Just last month, they ruled it was too late in the election calendar to throw out Alabama’s congressional map, and we are now more than 30 days closer to North Carolina’s primary than we were to Alabama’s then. Legislators have asked the court to halt North Carolina’s congressional elections immediately, even though candidate filing closed at noon Friday, and all campaign matchups for the primaries are set.
The lateness of this hail mary is the result of the legislators’ decision to wait as late as possible to approve their own initial gerrymandered maps. They had expected the North Carolina state courts to say in December that it was too late for them to intervene to halt another decade of gerrymandered elections. However, that’s when North Carolina’s state Supreme Court said, “not this time.”
We responded to this late appeal last Wednesday with a thorough debunking of legislators’ legal theories. All parties are now waiting for a decision, which could come any day now.