The North Carolina state Supreme Court ruled on Friday that redistricted voting maps designed in 2011 by the state’s Republican-led legislature are constitutional. Critics denounce the maps as an attempt to marginalize black voters by weakening their influence through unlawful gerrymandering. A majority of justices disagreed, saying instead that the redistricting plans for the state’s congressional and legislative seats do not violate anyone’s rights, Reuters reported. The ruling comes 11 months after the justices first heard arguments in the case and supports a similar July 2013 ruling by a panel of three judges. In 2010, Republicans took the North Carolina legislature for the first time in more than a century, and after drawing new voting districts, increased their majority in subsequent elections, according to Reuters.
Opposition groups, like the League of Women Voters and the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said they plan to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. “It is simply wrong for the legislature to carve up this state on the basis of race in these circumstances,” said Anita Earls, lead attorney for the NAACP.
“As enacted, this redistricting plan has destroyed the political abilities of African-Americans to fully participate as equals in the North Carolina legislative process,” the ACLU said in a statement. “In light of the harms that this districting plan imposes upon African-Americans in this state, we have no option left but to appeal this misguided decision to the United States Supreme Court.”