NC groups and voters urge judges to avoid redistricting cases | national news


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Advocacy groups and North Carolina voters who persuaded state courts to overturn Congress’s redistricting plan for the legislature petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to avoid hearing arguments about whether these courts should be reduced when considering US house cards.

Lawyers representing the state also joined outside attorneys in filing four legal briefs with judges urging them to reject a petition from Republican legislative leaders to address the issue.

Through their own private attorneys, GOP lawmakers have already asked the court to formally rule on whether a provision of the US Constitution delegating to state legislatures how to conduct state House elections States means that state judges cannot overrule congressional district lines created by the general. Assembly.

The authors of Friday’s papers say the Supreme Court has previously ruled that certain decisions on congressional redistricting can be delegated by a state’s citizens. The same is true when the North Carolina Legislature passed laws two decades ago establishing the power of the courts to review redistricting plans they approved, the lawyers wrote.

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State legislative leaders petitioned judges in March, a week after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a Congressional map adopted by a panel of three trial judges and upheld by the state Supreme Court will be used in this year’s election.

But four of the U.S. Supreme Court justices have indicated they are open to reviewing the scope of state courts’ ability to change Congressional maps in the future. It is not known when the court will decide to take up the case and hold oral arguments. A decision could have broad effects on elections and nationwide redistricting. Primary races were held this week based on court-ordered maps for all 14 districts.

The map, which will only be used this year, was created after the state Supreme Court in February overturned congressional limits approved by the GOP-controlled legislature. In a 4-3 ruling, the court’s Democratic judges ruled the rows were partisan gerrymanders who violated the state constitution. The legislature dabbled in a replacement plan, but trial judges said it wasn’t good enough and made adjustments.

The original map approved by the legislature in November would most likely have resulted in 10 seats for Republicans and four for Democrats. The court-ordered plan gives Democrats a good chance of winning at least six seats this fall.

Lawyers for the legislative leaders wrote that the U.S. Constitution makes it clear that congressional redistricting is a matter solely for the state legislatures. A 1916 U.S. Supreme Court decision found that the Election Clause does not abrogate popularly imposed restrictions in state constitutions “to which state legislatures owe their existence,” the brief reads. of the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters. The group was among those who challenged the original map of the General Assembly in the fall.

“The U.S. Constitution does not grant impunity to a state legislature for violations of its state constitution simply because the legislation relates to congressional elections,” wrote attorneys representing Common Cause, another litigant. The attorneys representing the state come from a department headed by Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein.

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