Legislature’s Appeal on Redistricting Should Be Dismissed

It’s a bad news/good news situation on extreme partisan gerrymandering, the practice of drawing voting districts in a way that guarantees one party a majority of legislative seats even when that party badly loses the overall vote. 

As NCLCV and other defenders of democracy have already made clear, the NC Supreme Court’s reversal last month allowing unlimited extreme partisan gerrymandering by the NC legislature represents an outrageous perversion of constitutional law. The small silver lining in that dark thundercloud is this: It should render moot—legally irrelevant—the legislature’s appeal to the US Supreme Court of the earlier (now reversed) decision in the case of Moore v. Harper that such gerrymandering does violate the NC Constitution. For a case to be moot means that the US Supreme Court should dismiss it instead of issuing a decision. That dismissal would have the advantage for democracy advocates of not locking in a possibly very bad decision from the current far-right majority on the US Supreme Court. 

In response to a request by the U.S. Supreme Court to the parties in the Moore v. Harper appeal case, the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters (NCLCV) last week filed a brief explaining how the ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court impacts the jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court. Speaking for NCLCV, Executive Director Carrie Clark said, “As our filing today explains, we believe what the North Carolina Supreme Court did was unlawful. But if you take its opinion at face value, it deprived the U.S. Supreme Court of any jurisdiction it might have had over the case about the congressional map. Equally egregious is the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision authorizing the General Assembly to redraw its own state-legislative maps—a mid-decade gerrymander that clearly is unlawful under our state Constitution. The North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision is a slap in the face to our Constitution, the rule of law, our democracy, and the ability of North Carolinians to protect their environment through fair elections and equal representation.” The full brief filed on behalf of NCLCV can be read here.

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