CCNC statement on US Supreme Court ruling against gerrymandered NC legislative districts

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  • Bryan Warner

RALEIGH – The US Supreme Court on Monday rejected a request to review a lower court ruling that found North Carolina lawmakers unconstitutionally gerrymandered 28 of the state’s legislative districts along racial lines. The decision leaves in place the lower court ruling ordering lawmakers to redraw those districts.

The news comes just two weeks after the US Supreme Court likewise ruled that legislators racially gerrymandered two of the state’s congressional districts in 2011.

The following is a statement from Bob Phillips, executive director of the good-government organization Common Cause NC, in response to today’s Supreme Court decision. Common Cause is among the plaintiffs in a separate lawsuit (Common Cause v. Rucho) challenging the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina. That trial is set to begin on June 26 in the federal Middle District court in Greensboro.

“We applaud the US Supreme Court for once again decisively showing that racial gerrymandering is unconstitutional and unacceptable. However, we have seen Republican legislative leaders respond to previous court rulings against their racial gerrymandering by then brazenly gerrymandering along partisan lines with similar effect — creating voting districts that continue to deprive North Carolinians of a voice in choosing their representatives.

“We are hopeful that, like racial gerrymandering, the federal courts will ultimately ban partisan gerrymandering.

“As for North Carolina lawmakers, their reckless gerrymandering has once again led to costly litigation and put our state in the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons. We call upon legislative leaders to enact House Bill 200, which has overwhelming bipartisan support among the public.

“The bill would establish an independent system of redistricting that puts North Carolina voters ahead of partisan politics and would finally give our state fair voting maps. This common-sense reform would spare our state from prolonged court battles and instead give North Carolina citizens greater confidence in the integrity of our elections.”