The U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the past 30 days rejected efforts by North Carolina lawmakers to make it harder for African Americans to vote while also packing them into as few districts as possible to diminish their electoral influence. In the latest ruling, announced May 21, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s opinion that North Carolina’s efforts to draw new lines for congressional districts unfairly packed two districts with African American voters and thus limited their ability to influence other political contests. The court agreed that majority-black districts might help the candidates favored by black voters win elections. But it said that North Carolina lawmakers had gone too far by drawing the lines in an effort to dilute the number of African Americans voters in other districts.
Uncommon was the coalition that delivered the blow to North Carolina’s gerrymandering efforts. While Justice Elana Kagan wrote the majority opinion for the court, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas joined the 5-3 majority and authored a concurring view in the ruling.
The unconstitutionality of North Carolina’s district maps comes on the heels of another blow to state Republicans’ devious mechanizations in regards to voting.