Arguments wrapped Thursday in a North Carolina lawsuit that aims to change American politics. The case targets partisan gerrymandering in general and North Carolina’s current congressional map in particular. Republican legislators, attorneys for good-government groups argue, drew intensely partisan lines, using detailed data from past elections to produce maps nearly guaranteed to elect 10 Republicans and three Democrats to Congress. Such partisan efforts have long been accepted, but the federal courts may eventually draw a line in the sand. North Carolina’s case is before a three-judge panel and could take months, or even years, to run its course. A similar case out of Wisconsin has already been argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the court’s decision is pending.
A number of other cases have delved into this issue without consensus emerging on whether the judiciary should rein in partisan redistricting, a job the Constitution delegates to state legislatures. If the courts should step in, judges must ponder, is there a consistent way to prove an unfair partisan gerrymander has occurred?
U.S. District Judge William L. Osteen Jr., head of the judicial panel in the case, seemed to search for a path forward Thursday, probing attorneys for a test.
“Everybody talks about, ‘Maybe this is a constitutional problem,'” the George W. Bush appointee said, referring to past judicial opinions. “But we can’t find a standard.”
Full Article: Arguments wrap in NC’s partisan gerrymander case :: WRAL.com.