The North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday upheld the constitutionality of state voting maps drawn by the Republican-majority legislature in 2011. Critics of the maps filed suit against them, arguing that they violated the constitutional rights of minority voters. A coalition of groups, including the League of Women Voters, the state chapter of the NAACP and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, argued that Republican mapmakers had packed black voters into a small number of districts, thereby reducing their voting power in neighboring districts that were drawn to favor GOP candidates. Authors of the maps argued that they were following the requirements of the federal 1965 Voting Rights Act, which required mapmakers in states subject to the federal law to create majority-minority districts where possible to ensure the viability of minority candidates.
Two separate lawsuits were combined and heard by a special three-judge panel in July 2013. That panel sided with the mapmakers. The state Supreme Court heard the case on appeal in January but did not release its decision for 11 months.
In the court’s 4-2 ruling, Associate Justice Robert Edmunds Jr. wrote for the majority, “We agree with the unanimous three-judge panel that the General Assembly’s enacted plans do not violate plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. We hold that the enacted House and Senate plans satisfy state and federal constitutional and statutory requirements.”
Full Article: High court backs NC voting maps as drawn :: WRAL.com.