Three-Judge Panel Strikes Down N.C. District Maps for Partisan Manipulation

A three-judge panel ruled Monday that North Carolina’s congressional districts once again violated the US Constitution. This time, however, it was not on racial grounds — but partisan.

The court further ruled that the maps may need to be redrawn ahead of the November elections, just a little over two months away.

North Carolina legislators are expected to ask the Supreme Court to intervene. The high court is short a justice after Anthony Kennedy’s resignation.

Lower courts appear to be increasingly willing to rule on the partisan nature of electoral maps. However, the Supreme Court punted two cases this year for lack of standing, holding that the cases were more about partisan interests than individual legal rights.

“[T]his Court is not responsible for vindicating generalized partisan preferences. The Court’s constitutionally prescribed role is to vindicate the individual rights of the people appearing before it,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority in Gill v. Whitford.

In this case, the federal court ruled that the Republican Party unconstitutionally gerrymandered the congressional districts over Democrats — at its core being the interest of two political parties and their members.

Stay tuned for further developments on this story.