North Carolina’s highest court on Friday again upheld maps drawn by Republicans for General Assembly and congressional districts, months after the U.S. Supreme Court told state judges to review boundaries through the lens of its Alabama redistricting decision. A majority on the state Supreme Court reaffirmed its December 2014 decision upholding the boundaries, finding that they still withstood the scrutiny of federal and state constitutional and redistricting guidelines. This latest legal inspection also included the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority opinion in March that Alabama lawmakers had relied too much on “mechanical” numerical percentages while drawing legislative districts in which blacks comprised a majority of the population. The federal justices threw out the first North Carolina Supreme Court ruling and told the state court to try again.
Friday’s ruling still keeps in place the boundaries approved by the GOP-led legislature in 2011 and used in the 2012 and 2014 elections. They have helped Republicans expand and sustain their majorities in the state House and Senate and hold 10 of the 13 seats in North Carolina’s congressional delegation.
The ruling also makes it more likely that 2016 primary elections set for March 15 will be held under the same boundaries. Two other redistricting lawsuits are pending in federal courts.
The ruling “once again makes clear the General Assembly protected the rights of voters and established voting boundaries that are fair and legal,” redistricting leaders Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, and Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, said in a news release.
Full Article: N.C. court affirms district lines.