The judges who struck down North Carolina’s congressional map for excessive partisanship that favored Republicans refused Tuesday to delay their order telling GOP state lawmakers to draw new lines by next week.
The denial by the three-judge federal panel was expected, given that the judges wrote 200-plus pages last week explaining why the boundaries approved two years ago were marked by “invidious partisanship” and are illegal political gerrymanders, violating several parts of the U.S. Constitution. Barring a delay by the U.S. Supreme Court – which Republican legislators also have sought and their request is pending – the legislature will be required to redraw its map for North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts by Jan. 24.
Attorneys for the lawmakers cited partisan gerrymandering cases already before the Supreme Court from Wisconsin and Maryland for necessitating the order’s delay, because the justices may rule differently on whether partisan gerrymandering can be adjudicated.
But the lower court’s judges – U.S. Circuit Judge Jim Wynn and District Judges William Osteen and Earl Britt – said the cases in the other states are different enough legally that their decision could stand no matter how the justices rule. For example, the Wisconsin matter involves legislative districts.