Supreme Court decides only Democrats can use race in gerrymandering

Lydia Fleming
May 24, 2017

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the redrawing of two congressional districts by the North Carolina legislature following the 2010 census was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. Kagan accomplishes this switcheroo in a footnote that will serve as the basis of innumerable future lawsuits, stating that courts may find proof of an unlawful racial gerrymander "when legislators have placed a significant number of voters within or without a district predominantly because of their race, regardless of their ultimate objective in taking that step".

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.

"Although States enjoy leeway to take race-based actions reasonably judged necessary under a proper interpretation of the Voting Rights Act, that latitude can not rescue District 1", Kagan said in the opinion of the court. Adding more black voters to the district, she wrote, amounted to an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.

The North Carolina ruling upheld a federal district court decision that struck down the state's 1st and 12th congressional districts because state lawmakers had packed African American voters into them, thereby minimizing the influence of black voters in other districts.

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Judge Xavier Rodriguez, on behalf of the panel, also directed Texas to consider whether it would like to "voluntarily undertake redistricting in a special session" of the legislature in light of the North Carolina ruling, giving the state until Friday to decide.

Supreme Court strikes down redrawn North...

TOTENBERG: Marc Elias, who successfully argued the case on behalf of a Democratic group headed by former Attorney General Eric Holder, was elated. But even with the new districts, Republicans maintained their 10-3 edge in congressional seats. In Congressional District 12, the black voting age population increased from 43.8 percent to 50.7 percent.

Alito also criticized the majority decision for failing to stand by a 2001 case in which the high court upheld a similar configuration for that district. Alito wrote that "District 12's borders and racial composition are readily explained by political considerations and the effects of the legislature's political strategy".

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In a dissenting opinion, Justice Samuel Alito said said the court ignored past precedent in finding that race was the motivating factor in drawing District 12. So, as long as Justice Kennedy remains on the court, the possibility of limiting partisan gerrymanders remains a live one.

However, the immediate impact of the ruling on North Carolina's current congressional maps may be limited - at least for the time being. We're glad to see the court note there's a difference between racial gerrymandering and partisan gerrymandering.

"The Court made it clear that it would not allow states to get away with unlawful racial gerrymandering by claiming that it's just politics".

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.

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Kagan's opinion was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. "I don't know how any legislature can perform this task when the rules change constantly from case to case, often after the fact", state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes said in a statement. They prefer districts that are only 30% or so black so blacks, together with homosexuals, union members, wacko environmentalists, government employees, and brainwashed college graduates, can elect Democrats. Many, many districts across the country have been drawn on exactly this argument, so this opens the door, essentially to a wholesale redrawing of dozens of electoral maps.

Other reports by Info About Network

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