Judges Throw Out North Carolina Congressional Maps Ahead of 2020 Elections

The state will have to scramble to draw new maps.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

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North Carolina’s congressional maps were likely designed as “extreme partisan gerrymanders” and must be redrawn before the 2020 election, a panel of three state judges ruled Monday. 

The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit brought by Eric Holder’s group seeking to end gerrymandering. The group challenged maps the Republican state legislature had drawn in 2016, arguing that it was an illegal partisan gerrymander. 

The judges did not set a deadline for the new maps, but the state will have to rush to implement new district lines before next year’s elections.

 

While the US Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that partisan gerrymandering is not unconstitutional, state constitutions can still prohibit the practice. There was ample evidence of a politically motivated gerrymander by North Carolina Republicans, the judges found. The papers of the late Thomas Hofeller—a leading GOP redistricting expert who helped draw North Carolina’s map—created a “detailed record of both the partisan intent and the intended partisan effects of the 2016 congressional districts.” (Hofeller’s estranged daughter provided the documents after his death.)

Earlier this year, the same panel of judges threw out the maps the North Carolina General Assembly drew to elect state legislators. The panel approved new state-level maps. The judicial order for new 2020 maps for Congressional seats “respectfully urges” legislators to create “new legislative districts in a short amount of time in a transparent and bipartisan manner.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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