Saturday, March 2, 2024

SCOTUS Rejects Cases by NC, Pa. Legislatures to Reverse Court-Imposed Gerrymandering

'Political activism from the bench on this issue is inexcusable and unfairly cuts elected members of the legislature out of the process...'

(Headline USA) The Supreme Court has turned away efforts from Republicans in North Carolina and Pennsylvania to block state court-ordered congressional districting plans more favorable to Democrats.

In separate orders late Monday, the justices are allowing maps selected by each state’s Supreme Court to be in effect for the 2022 elections.

In North Carolina, the map most likely will give Democrats an additional House seat in 2023.

“The North Carolina General Assembly has the constitutional right to determine our congressional maps here in the Tar Heel State,” said Michael Whatley, chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party in a March 2 statement. “Political activism from the bench on this issue is inexcusable and unfairly cuts elected members of the legislature out of the process.”

The Pennsylvania map also probably will lead to the election of more Democrats, the Republicans said, as the two parties battle for control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections.

The cases were a longshot as the court previously ruled that it had no authority over partisan gerrymandering cases involving states.

Although the state constitutions vest the power for redistricting with the legislatures—both of which are controlled by the GOP, activist lawsuits have made it automatically a matter for the state courts to decide.

In North Carolina, for instance, activists led by Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee had pre-emptively filed lawsuits even before the legislature submitted its map for the recent round of redistricting.

The deciding vote on the state’s narrowly divided Supreme Court was Judge Anita Earls, a former left-wing activist whom the NDRC paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to install on the court in 2018.

While the US Supreme Court did not stop the court-ordered plans from being used in this year’s elections, four conservative justices indicated they want it to confront an issue that could dramatically limit the power of state courts over federal elections in the future.

“We will have to resolve this question sooner or later, and the sooner we do so, the better,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a dissent from the Supreme Court’s order, joined by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas. “This case presented a good opportunity to consider the issue, but unfortunately the court has again found the occasion inopportune.”

Justice Brett Kavanaugh made a similar point, but said he didn’t want to interfere in this year’s electoral process, which already is underway. The filing deadline in North Carolina was Friday.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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