Republicans will file suit to block the new map of Pennsylvania’s congressional districts as soon as Wednesday, officials said. Matt Gorman, communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Tuesday state and federal officials “will sue in federal court as soon as tomorrow to prevent the new partisan map from taking effect.” Top Senate Republican lawyer Drew Crompton said Monday a separation of powers case will form the essence of the GOP’s argument, according to The Associated Press. Republicans again will argue the U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures and governors, not courts, the power to draw congressional boundaries, AP reported.
North Carolina: Supreme Court Issues Partial Stay in North Carolina Voting Case | The New York Times
The Supreme Court partly granted on Tuesday a request from North Carolina Republicans to block a voting map drawn by a federal court there. That court had interceded after finding that a map drawn by state lawmakers for the General Assembly had relied too heavily on race and had violated state laws. The Supreme Court’s order, which was brief and gave no reasons, partly blocked that decision while the justices consider whether to hear an appeal in the case. The justices seemed to split into three camps: Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. said they would have granted the entire request; Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have granted none of it; and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Stephen G. Breyer, Elena Kagan and Neil M. Gorsuch appeared to take the middle position.
The legislature recently held a public hearing on a new redistricting plan it is developing, but it was hard to see it as anything more than a dog-and-pony show. While the General Assembly will ultimately vote on the new court-ordered plan, the real work has actually been outsourced to Washington, D.C. More precisely, the job has been given to the national Republican Party’s redistricting top gun – Tom Hofeller, the same person who designed the state’s heavily gerrymandered political maps in 2011.
Every decade, New York state redraws its legislative and congressional districts in a process that critics have derided as skewed toward incumbents and majority parties. The last redistricting ended in 2012, and the years between then and the 2020 federal census — which will provide fresh demographic data before a new round — would arguably include a lot of downtime for the task force that was once assigned to do the work. Yet records show the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Appointment maintains a large and expensive staff, even though its power to draw district lines was taken away by a constitutional amendment passed three years ago. LATFOR had faced criticism for drawing district lines that favor the candidates of majority Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans.
North Carolina: U.S. Supreme Court won’t speed up North Carolina map redistricting | Associated Press
The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Thursday to speed up returning to North Carolina its rulings in the case of nearly 30 legislative districts that have been declared illegal racial gerrymanders. The one-sentence denials could make it harder for a lower federal court to assemble a workable plan to hold otherwise unscheduled elections this fall under redrawn boundaries. Now it won’t be until the end of June for the justices’ judgments to be issued to the three-judge court in Greensboro. Lawyers for more than two dozen voters who successfully got 28 House and Senate districts thrown out for needlessly packing too many black voters in them wanted the judgments issued immediately. The timeline is important because attorneys for voters who sued want the lower court to act quickly on directing legislators to redraw maps and deciding whether a special election should be held. Now it’ll be another two weeks before the three judges formally receive them and act accordingly.
North Carolina’s updated congressional districts — redrawn by legislators after federal judges ruled some lines created illegal racial gerrymanders — also are unconstitutional and should be rejected, according to the voters who originally sued to overturn them. Lawyers for David Harris and Christine Bowers — voters who challenged the previous majority black 1st and 12th District boundaries — filed in federal court their objections to boundaries drawn by the Republican-led General Assembly on Feb. 19. They also want the judges to draw new maps themselves. For the map originally drawn in 2011, the plaintiffs’ attorneys argued the GOP mapmakers previously packed black voters into the two districts so as to make surrounding areas more white and Republican.
North Carolina’s civil war over its election map will stretch on for at least another week – raising more questions about whether the state’s March 15 primary takes place as scheduled. Tuesday night, Gov. Pat McCrory and other state leaders asked Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to set aside a lower court order that found portions of the state’s congressional district map unconstitutional. The three-judge panel also gave the state until a week from Friday to come up with a new map. Wednesday afternoon, Roberts responded. He gave the plaintiffs in the case, including retired Charlotte-Mecklenburg school teacher Christine Bowser, until next Tuesday to respond to the state’s request for a delay. State lawyers have argued that with the primary about a month away – and with absentee ballots already being returned – any changes will throw the upcoming election into turmoil. Yet without any guarantees on when and how Roberts or the full court will rule, McCrory may be compelled to call the legislature into special session next week to meet the lower court deadline for new maps. “The timing of this process practically means the state needs to prepare … a new map, just in case the (earlier) order is upheld,” said Kareem Clayton, a Vanderbilt University election law expert who has followed the North Carolina case.