Supreme Court will either end gerrymandering, or support it

Opinion

January 10, 2019 - 9:20 AM

When North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders have seen their work struck down in court as unconstitutional — as they have many times — they have frequently responded by attacking the judge or judges as partisan hacks.

That approach won’t work if the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court surprises the nation by throwing out the congressional district map that N.C. legislators explicitly drew to elect as many Republicans as possible.

The court on Friday agreed to hear a challenge to the North Carolina map, as well as one to a Maryland congressional district. That was big news, because while the court has addressed racial gerrymandering, it has never ruled on whether partisan gerrymandering can be unconstitutional. In taking these cases, the court could for the first time establish whether crafting districts to help one party over the other is permissible.

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