SCOTUS Rules North Carolina Gerrymandering Is Racist

The dispute is similar to the court fight over Texas' voter ID law, also struck down as racially discriminatory. "The voters should choose their legislators", Butterfield said.

Justice Neil Gorsuch did not participate in the case, which was argued in December before he was confirmed to the bench.

"Our position continues to be the same as the Obama Justice Department on this issue, which pre-cleared these districts as fair and legal", said Robin Hayes, chairman of the state Republican Party.

The 12th wasn't alone in this particular case.

Justice Kagan with opinion in North Carolina redistricting case.

These two districts were drawn in 2016 after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Republicans had previously drawn congressional districts for the same objective, along racial lines. By cramming more black voters into district that already elected black-preferred candidates, the legislature prevented those black voters from influencing electoral results in other districts, effectively diluting the power of African Americans throughout the state. And that has not been going well when it comes to voting rights. With its head in Charlotte, it slithered up toward Greensboro sometimes no wider than the I-85 freeway.

"By trying to increase black representation in a couple of these districts they weakened it elsewhere and so it was a combination of those things that became fatal", he said. They sided with state officials that the district was drawn for political gain not to disenfranchise black voters.

Election law experts said the ruling would make it easier to challenge voting districts based partly on partisan affiliations and partly on race. "That Justice Kagan got Justice Thomas not only to vote this way but to sign onto the opinion (giving it precedential value) is a really big deal".

KAGAN: "Well the question is, is it?"

It's unclear right now if the districts re-drawn in 2016 will also be invalidated. She wrote that plaintiffs can succeed in showing that race predominated in drawing lines even if "a legislature elevated race to the predominant criterion in order to advance other goals, including political ones". "If it's race, it's not". Conservative Clarence Thomas, the court's only black justice, joined Kagan's ruling. But that's not all.

"She seems to suggest that race and party overlap with one another in certain places like North Carolina".

In the case Earls is arguing, a federal court had previously thrown out 28 state House and Senate districts as illegal racial gerrymanders.

The ruling Monday will not impact North Carolina's congressional districts as now drawn.

The first has to do with these same two congressional districts.

Republican state Rep. David Lewis even explicitly defended the redrawn map as a partisan gerrymander, stating unequivocally that it was meant to maintain the maximum possible edge for the GOP.

The justices last week rebuffed a Republican bid to revive a strict North Carolina voter-identification law that a lower court found deliberately discriminated against black voters.

Kagan responded that while proposed alternative maps might be helpful to courts evaluating racial gerrymandering claims, they were not required. And that case is now pending before the Supreme Court.

In this photo taken April 4, 2017, the Supreme Court Building is seen in Washington. "That could possibly happen". "A precedent of this court should not be treated like a disposable household item - say, a paper plate or napkin - to be used once and then tossed in the trash", he wrote. Today's decision could have far-reaching ramifications for striking down gerrymandering nationwide.