Supreme Court agrees: GOP lawmakers used race to redraw voting districts

A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina Republicans relied too heavily on race when they drew two bizarrely shaped congressional voting districts that were used until the 2014 election.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote the decision, following a series of similar rulings against new Congress and state legislature lines drawn in other states.

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: The court said that the GOP-controlled North Carolina legislature had reshuffled tens of thousands of black and white voters into and out of the two districts, deliberately concentrating black voters in the districts and diluting their voting clout in neighboring districts. Adding more black voters to the district, she wrote, amounted to an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. In the 1990s, the Democratic-controlled state legislature gerrymandered both districts into freakish shapes that appeared to be drawn along racial lines.

The justices were unanimous in striking down District 1, located in the northeastern part of the Tar Heel State, according to The New York Times. G.K. ButterfieldG.K. ButterfieldSupreme Court strikes down NC districts as illegally based on race Dems once critical of Comey line up to denounce his firing Dems, not trusting Trump, want permanent ObamaCare fix MORE represents the 1st District, while Rep. Alma Adams represents the 12th District.

Monday was a busy day for the United States Supreme Court, with multiple opinions and orders being issued.

"Our position continues to be the same as the Obama Justice Department on this issue, which pre-cleared these districts as fair and legal", said Robin Hayes, chairman of the state Republican Party. "So long as the legislature chose to retain the basic shape of District 12 and to increase the number of Democrats in the district, it was inevitable that the Democrats brought in would be disproportionately Black".

The entire court held that one of the districts was unconstitutionally devised, with five of the court's eight members voting in the case holding that the second district also was unconstitutionally devised.

"The evidence offered at trial. adequately supports the conclusion that race, not politics, accounted for the district's reconfiguration", Kagan wrote.

In affirming the lower court's rejection of the redistricters' partisan explanation for CD 12, the Supreme Court followed its decision in Bethune-Hill, which likewise lowered the bar for plaintiffs to show that race predominates in a district. It can adjudicate the gerrymandering claim without altering a legislative body's partisan makeup or upsetting a redistricter's political objectives. Such a distinction matters because African-Americans tend to vote overwhelmingly in favor of Democrats, and the Supreme Court has only deemed racial gerrymandering as constitutionally problematic.

Liberals passed this disgusting provision of the Voting Rights Act, which requires certain election results, meanig the election of more people of a certain race. "It went from a tool being used by conservatives to stop the creation of majority-minority districts to now a tool to try to police Republican gerrymanders in Southern states".

Justice Neil Gorsuch, who had not yet joined the court when arguments in the case were heard in December, did not participate in the ruling.

Tom Ross, the former president of the University of North Carolina system who now works with a nonprofit trying to restore trust in government, told The News & Observer's Anne Blythe Monday that political gerrymandering has helped to erode that trust and that the solution is to amend our state constitution to establish an independent redistricting process. The court ruled that legislators packed African American voters into two districts, in violation of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

Both districts have since been redrawn.

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