North Carolina’s gerrymandered voting districts struck down by Supreme Court
They were ruled unconstitutional due to their racial basis
North Carolina can now add “constitution violation” to its ever-growing laundry list of stupid policy decisions. The state’s 1st and 12th congressional districts have been on the radar for potential racial bias and now the Supreme Court has gotten involved.
The Supreme Court of the United States decided in a unanimous ruling that North Carolina’s 1st congressional district relied too heavily on race. In a 5-3 decision, the court ruled that the 12th congressional voting district was also racially gerrymandered. That means both districts violate the constitution.
Today's rulings send a stark message: Racial gerrymandering is illegal and will be struck down by the courts https://t.co/AlO5PKWlwz
— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) May 22, 2017
The courts said that the districts were redrawn to pack African-Americans into dense regions that would have a democratic leaning, making the other districts less competitive.
In her decision on District 12, Justice Elena Kagan wrote: “The evidence offered at trial, including live witness testimony subject to credibility determinations, adequately supports the conclusion that race, not politics, accounted for the district’s reconfiguration.”
Hopeful today's U.S. Supreme Court decision will lead to end of discriminatory racial gerrymandering once & for all. https://t.co/8VlUpDAhgv
— Sen. Al Franken (@SenFranken) May 22, 2017
Justices Breyer, Bader Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and conservative Thomas joined Kagan in her decision. New Justice Neil Gorsuch did not partipate in the vote.
Because North Carolina already changed the districts due to a lower court ruling, this new ruling may not have a huge impact in the state itself. Still, the ruling brings much needed attention to the important issue of racial gerrymandering.