24 May, 2017
This law was put in place during the Civil Rights Movement to obstruct voting for African-Americans in historically racist states as part of the systemic discrimination known as Jim Crow laws, which were adopted in the century following the abolition of slavery. "The issue is whether District 12 was drawn predominantly because of race".
"This will lead to many more successful racial gerrymandering cases in the American South and elsewhere, and allow these cases to substitute for (so far unsuccessful) partisan gerrymandering claims involving some of these districts", Hasen wrote on his blog.
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"Even if the minority party loses in court, it can exact a heavy price by using the judicial process to engage in political trench warfare for years on end".
The court rejected the argument from North Carolina lawmakers that the goal of drawing the maps was not race discrimination but an attempt to gain a partisan advantage. At the same time, race can't be the predominant factor without very strong reasons, under a series of high court decisions.
Michael Li, a redistricting expert and senior counsel at New York University's Brennan Center for Justice, said the North Carolina ruling will be an "important decision" for the other districting efforts winding through the legal system, including those in Texas. "Neither will we approve a racial gerrymander whose necessity is supported by no evidence and whose raison d'être is a legal mistake". What did surprise them was that the 5-3 verdict, with the fifth vote cast by conservative justice Clarence Thomas, has made challenging gerrymandering much easier in court.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented, agreeing with state officials that the districts lines were not racially motivated but rather to benefit Republicans, something that the court has never said lawmakers could not do.More news: Moon, Turnbull agree to jointly fight trade protectionism
Justice Neil Gorsuch, who had not yet joined the court when it heard arguments in the case in December, did not participate.
In regard to District 12, the state maintained the race played no role in the creation of the district. In 2012 and 2014, when the statewide vote was closely divided, Republicans won 10 of the state's 13 House seats.
"The evidence offered at trial.adequately supports the conclusion that race, not politics, accounted for the district's reconfiguration", Kagan wrote. However, the court's decision will send legislators back to the drawing board - a setback that could spell trouble for Republicans in the upcoming 2018 midterm election.
The Supreme Court deferred to the district court's decision on CD12.
States reconsider districts following each census, and the endeavor is a political football. Likewise in District 12, a narrow area in western North Carolina, the number increased to 50.7 percent from 43.8 percent. The new map has likewise been challenged in court by critics who call it overly partisan.
While the districts have already been redrawn, Amy Auth, a spokeswoman for Senate Leader Phil Berger, said Monday that the uncertainty in the court's decisions on this case have made redistricting hard. It added more African Americans to two districts that already had significant black populations and had consistently elected the representatives-all Democrats-favored by most black voters since the 1990s.
They lost, and now North Carolina may be facing the challenge of drawing new lines and having elections in 2017.