This story originally published online at NC Policy Watch.
The US Supreme Court on Monday denied Republican legislative leaders’ request to stop congressional elections using court-drawn maps while they appealed state redistricting decisions.
The Supreme Court’s denial means that North Carolina congressional districts are officially set for the 2022 election. Candidate filing ended on Friday.
The NC Supreme Court ordered the legislature to redraw new districts for state House, state Senate and congressional districts after determining that the first maps legislators created were unconstitutional pro-Republican partisan gerrymanders.
A trial court accepted the second set of plans for state House and Senate districts but rejected the congressional map. The Superior Court judges replaced the congressional map with one they made with the help of special masters.
Republican legislators appealed to the US Supreme Court, saying that court-drawn map is an unconstitutional intrusion into the legislature’s duties.
Three groups sued over the GOP gerrymandered redistricting plans told the US Supreme Court—the NC League of Conservation Voters, Common Cause, and a group of voters backed by the National Redistricting Foundation. In court filings, their lawyers told the U.S. Supreme Court that the Republican argument was contrary to court precedent going back a century.
Lawyers for the Common Cause referenced a recent US Supreme Court case, Rucho vs. Common Cause, where the court said partisan gerrymandering claims were political questions outside its purview, while emphasizing available state remedies.
“We’re pleased that the US Supreme Court rejected the legislative defendants’ shameless attempt to impose their gerrymandered congressional map upon North Carolina. This is a welcome victory for the people of our state and our Constitution,” Common Cause NC Executive Director Bob Phillips said in a statement.
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