On Wednesday, a lower court in North Carolina overturned a Republican-favorable congressional map, the newest in a line of legal triumphs for Democrats seeking to stave off crushing midterm defeats.
A three-judge panel of the Wake County Superior Court accepted a congressional map designed by special masters. This will almost certainly result in Democrats boosting their representation in Congress in the state from five to six.
Ruling and Reviews
“The Special Masters assumes the altered congressional scheme suggested for adoption by the Trial Court satisfies the Supreme Court of North Carolina’s requirement for partisan fairness and substantially equal voting power,” the court stated in its ruling.
Per the decision, political analyst Bernard Grofman demonstrated the authorized map was “the least dilutive in party terms of any map submitted to the Court.”
The revised plan establishes seven Republican-friendly districts, six Democratic-friendly districts, and one toss-up district.
By comparison, Dave Wasserman, a general elections analyst for Cook Political Report, believes the original map drawn by Republican state lawmakers would’ve likely expanded the party’s 8-5 congressional seat majority to an 11-3 majority.
After the most recent census, the state added a congressional seat.
Although Democrat Governor Roy Cooper did not have the power of veto over the map, the state Supreme Court overturned it this month, forcing Republican-led lawmakers to submit new maps for review by lower courts.
According to WSOC-TV, one of the maps they submitted resulted in six Republican-friendly seats, four Democratic-friendly seats, and four toss-ups.
If NC Supreme Court upholds this congressional map, would be a big win for Dems: a 7R-6D-1C plan, w/ a new safe Dem #NC14 in Charlotte and a new competitive but Dem-trending #NC13 outside Raleigh. https://t.co/ELsiRfP9iw
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) February 23, 2022
Whereas the Wake County court dismissed the Republican-backed congressional plan, it authorized the Republican-backed state legislative district designs submitted last week.
This was an action that drew outrage from the state’s top Democrats, who claimed the legislative maps were politicized and unjust.
We must focus on battleground state Supreme Court elections because so many redistricting fights are won and lost there. We have two key ones in Ohio and North Carolina this fall. Let’s all get together and win these fights to stop Democrat gerrymandering. https://t.co/rCmgfnFxYG
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) February 26, 2022
“Today’s judgment permits the adoption of an egregiously unjust and unlawful state Senate map, which may have been the worst of the bunch. This is detrimental to North Carolina’s democracy, as it deprives voters of their voice.”
“Our elections should be postponed until fair, constitutional maps are in place,” Cooper stated in response to the state legislature’s legislative maps being upheld by the court.
The North Carolina verdict follows a string of legal victories that resulted in Democrats making surprising gains around the country, even though the GOP is widely predicted to gain scores of seats in the 2022 midterms.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously approved a new congressional map, granting Democrats another seeming success in their redistricting efforts.
Republican lawmakers in North Carolina filed an emergency petition with the United States Supreme Court on Friday, seeking a court injunction against a recent state court ruling on gerrymandering.
The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled the legislature’s edition of the municipalities for the state’s 14 House seats was illegitimately gerrymandered, prompting Republican legislators to redraw the map.
A judge said Wednesday the changes were insufficient, so he set up an expert panel to make a new map.