Court Hands Anti-Gerrymandering Movement Biggest Win Yet

Everyone knows that partisan redistricting is common practice, but the American people have been fairly helpless to prevent it. Generally, when cases of this nature go to court, the judges essentially shrug their shoulders at the corruption. At last, however, the tides are starting to turn.

For the first time ever, a federal court has ruled that a congressional map is rigged in a partisan fashion and must be redrawn. While there have been some smaller victories pertaining to state legislative maps, this case is the first one to likely shake up the races in the United States House of Representatives.

Three federal judges unanimously agreed with the League of Women Voters and Common Cause that North Carolina’s district maps were unconstitutional. The Republican Party had intentionally divided the state in such a way that Republicans secured 10 out of 13 congressional seats, despite winning just 54 percent of the statewide vote.

Experts thought it plausible that the court could find partisan gerrymandering at odds with the Fourteenth Amendment, but many were surprised that the judges found it to be in violation of the First Amendment, as well. Per the judges, since voters were placed in districts according to prior political speech, Republicans had discriminated against them for this speech.

The math backed up allegations of rigging. Looking at the numbers, it was obvious that most Democrats had been crammed into three districts to dilute their overall voting power. On top of that, a computer simulation showed that of all the permutations a potential North Carolina congressional map could take, less than 1 percent of them would result in Republicans having control of 11 seats, demonstrating that this outcome was no fluke.

Forget the math, though – Republicans made the court’s decision easy enough when Representative David Lewis admitted it aloud. “I acknowledge freely that this would be a political gerrymander,” he said when the map was first proposed. “I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats, so I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country.”

The timing of the ruling is especially exciting for liberals and non-partisans. The General Assembly must draw a new and fair map by January 24, beating the candidate-filing deadline on February 12 ahead of the 2018 midterm election. If the Assembly fails to do so in a timely manner, the court will appoint an independent district creator.

Republicans are, predictably, unhappy with Tuesday’s outcome. The head of North Carolina’s Republican Party, Dallas Woodhouse, called out one of the judges for “waging a personal, partisan war on North Carolina Republicans,” an especially rich claim coming from a party found guilty of waging a personal, partisan war on fair elections.

Republicans have declared their intention to appeal, but the Supreme Court is already in the process of weighing in on partisan gerrymandering anyway. The court heard Gill v. Whitford in October, in which Whitford finally offered a compelling, straightforward way to stress test whether districts have been drawn fairly; now the country awaits a decision.

As most court-watchers see it, swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy has been quietly encouraging someone to bring him such a test so that he can finally have an excuse to take on gerrymandering. If he finds the latest measurement tool, then this country will really be on its way to tackling this unfair partisan manipulation.

Photo Credit: National Atlas


Freya H
Freya H3 days ago

This is good news for people in Georgia, Michigan, and any other state that has a problem with gerrymandering.

Meanwhile, flagged the spam. That coward left immediately after pooping its crap on this fair site.

Donna T
Donna T3 days ago

thank you

Jeramie D
Jeramie D3 days ago


Janis K
Janis K3 days ago

Good news!

RONALD Walker3 days ago

WOW! I never could imagine this would ever happen! Now, will people of color will get the right to vote once again!

Chrissie R
Chrissie R3 days ago

Thank you for posting.

Danuta W
Danuta W3 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

Fran SiteIssues F

I hope this Federal Court decision marks the beginning of the end for gerrymandering!

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara4 days ago

interesting and I hope the computer model will be applied generally

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara4 days ago

Say it again... this woud be illegal in Europe