A three-judge federal district court panel has ruled that North Carolina’s 1st and 12th Congressional Districts constitute an unlawful racial gerrymander and have ordered the state’s congressional map to be redrawn by February 19. The panel stated that “the plaintiffs have shown that race predominated in both CD 1 and CD 12 and that the defendants have failed to establish that its race-based redistricting satisfies strict scrutiny” and that the plan violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Read the opinion here.
Common Cause North Carolina issued the following release following the decision:
Common Cause NC responds to court ruling that NC congressional districts were gerrymandered, must be redrawn
RALEIGH – A federal court on Friday ruled that two of North Carolina's 13 congressional districts -- the 1st and 12th -- were unconstitutionally gerrymandered and ordered the state to redraw the districts by Feb. 19. The following is a statement by Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina, in response to the decision.
"Today's ruling once again shows the need for North Carolina to establish a nonpartisan system for drawing our state's voting maps," Phillips said. "For years, partisan gerrymandering has led to costly litigation and deprived North Carolina voters of having a real choice and a voice in our elections. Fortunately, a growing number of citizens and leaders across the political spectrum agree that North Carolina should adopt an independent redistricting process."
Last year, a majority of NC House members co-sponsored House Bill 92, which would take the power of redistricting out of the hands of partisan lawmakers and give it to nonpartisan legislative staff. However, the bill has not been given a vote in the legislature.
At the same time, over 240 civic leaders across North Carolina have signed a petition calling on the legislature to pass redistricting reform. And both Gov. Pat McCrory and his possible 2016 gubernatorial opponent, Attorney General Roy Cooper, are on record opposing gerrymandering, as are former governors Jim Martin and Jim Hunt.
Common Cause North Carolina is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization dedicated to encouraging citizen participation in democracy.
More information on the effort to establish independent redistricting in North Carolina can be found at EndGerrymanderingNow.org.