North Carolina: US Supreme Court puts 2017 legislative election, redistricting on hold pending appeal | News & Observer
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday put a court-ordered legislative redistricting and 2017 special election on hold while it reviews Republican legislators’ appeal in an ongoing lawsuit. A lower federal court ruled months ago that the current legislative districts are an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, and it ordered the General Assembly to draw new districts by March 15 and hold a rare off-year election in altered districts this November. Tuesday’s Supreme Court order puts that order on hold until a Jan. 19 conference among the justices at which they will consider an appeal seeking to keep the current districts in place. From that conference behind closed doors, it could become clearer whether there will be elections held in 2017. The justices could immediately dismiss the appeal and keep the order for new maps and new elections this year. Or they could ask attorneys involved in the case to give them more briefs in the case and set arguments for later in the year, leaving the question of an election this year ambiguous. Since the court is currently missing a ninth justice following Antonin Scalia’s death, a 4-4 decision would keep the lower court’s ruling in place.