North Carolina GOP Cries Uncle. Or Has It?

Republican state senators in North Carolina review historical maps in February 2016. Corey Lowenstein/The News & Observer via AP, File

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Today a three-judge panel unanimously ruled that North Carolina’s state legislature was illegally gerrymandered. Those of you who have followed this story won’t be surprised: North Carolina’s redistricting history at both the local and congressional level is so egregious that it’s all but impossible to justify. The only unusual part of the whole thing is that the North Carolina GOP, which for years has been shamelessly defending itself against all odds, has given up. After the ruling was announced, they released a statement saying they wouldn’t appeal. Why? Rick Hasen provides a few possibilities:

  1. They know they will lose in the Democratic-dominated state supreme court, and there is no viable path to federal court review.
  2. They would rather NOT get a holding from the state Supreme Court (this was a three-judge trial court ruling), which would have greater precedential value.
  3. They hope they would have a better chance to have their “nonpartisan” map accepted by the Supreme Court if they throw in the towel (that is, they are trying to avoid a worse court-drawn map).
  4. They will use this ruling to run against the Supreme Court and try for a state constitutional amendment to give them the right to engage in partisan gerrymandering after the 2020 census.

Whatever the reason, it’s a sure bet that North Carolina Republicans haven’t really given up. They are simply hellbent on making sure that both blacks and Democrats never get representation equal to their numbers. Keep a close eye on this. It’s not over.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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