Attorneys representing voters who successfully challenged North Carolina’s congressional districts as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders are protesting lawmakers’ attempt to use the election maps again this year. U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts had given attorneys until noon Wednesday to offer response to a request last week from Republican legislative leaders for the country’s high court to get involved in another gerrymandering case in North Carolina. “In the 2016 election, Republican congressional candidates received slightly more than 50 percent of the statewide vote in North Carolina,” attorneys for the League of Women Voters wrote in opposition to lawmakers’ request for an emergency stay that would put a lower court’s ruling on hold. “With this slim majority, they won ten of North Carolina’s congressional seats. The resulting partisan asymmetry was the largest in the country in the 2016 election, and the fourth-largest, on net, of all congressional plans nationwide since 1972.”
Attorneys for Common Cause, which also challenged the congressional districts, added the organization’s opposition and suggested that if the Supreme Court takes up the North Carolina case, it should expedite it so voters in North Carolina won’t go through a fourth election cycle this decade with maps ruled unconstitutional by the courts.
“Not only is there a strong public interest in constitutionally drawn legislative districts, but moreover, a stay would tend to legitimize the flagrant partisan abuses of the North Carolina legislature – abuses that have continued now for almost a decade – and would invite legislatures across the Nation to follow suit,” the Common Cause attorneys stated. “The Court should not signal that it will reward gamesmanship and obstinacy, especially when fundamental constitutional rights are at stake.”