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Battle Over North Carolina District Map Continues

 

Throughout the first few months of 2018, the North Carolina congressional map drawn by Republicans has been under siege. A trial court demanded that the lines be redrawn in a matter of weeks, and Democrats across the state denounced the boundaries as the tool used by Republicans to “rig the system.”

Following much deliberation, the Congressional Districts will, in fact, remain the same for the next series of elections, as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the North Carolina Republicans.

Though the conflict has reached a boiling point recently, the gerrymandering saga initially began in 2016 when a court struck down a separate version of the congressional map, claiming that it was being racially gerrymandered. And while the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Republicans recently, the issue is not subsiding anytime soon, as the Court only placed a temporary hold on the trial court’s order.

Certainly, the trial court’s order has created an atmosphere of chaos surrounding the state’s 2018 midterm elections due to the uncertainty surrounding nominations, as well as the unbelievably fast turnaround time that the trial court initially demanded the lines be redrawn in. However, this decision bodes well for Republicans in North Carolina, as the districts will remain the same for the midterm elections, and the GOP seems poised to maintain control over the General Assembly.

In addition to the disarray caused by the trial court’s initial ruling, the Democrats’ argument has also drawn attention to the case following the unusual claim that Republicans are guilty of “partisan” gerrymandering. Though Republicans within the state, primarily Rep. David Lewis, have all but acknowledged their intent to draw state lines in the most favorable way for the party, it is unclear whether partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional, as the Supreme Court has only heard cases about racial gerrymandering.

While there is little clarity regarding the situation now, the Court is currently considering two cases, from Wisconsin and Maryland, which will be seminal towards establishing the Constitutionality of dividing state lines due to party affiliations.

This battle over district lines represents just one of many conflicts between Republicans and Democrats in North Carolina over recent years, particularly since Gov. Moore’s election. While landmark bills, such as House Bill 2, have garnered much of the media’s attention, there has been a great deal of strife, including disputes over Voter ID laws and budgetary concerns, between the two parties in the swing state, which voted red in the 2016 Presidential election.

Although this conflict will certainly ensue throughout the duration of the gerrymandering case, Republicans will remain poised to keep control of the General Assembly, and thus significant power within the state.

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