Status of Congressional and State House and Senate District Maps

Both the Congressional district maps and the State house and senate maps are in the courts considering gerrymandering challenges.

A three-judge panel (federal)  in Common Cause et al. vs. Rucho, et al., ruled that the Congressional maps drawn by the legislature were an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, which was a significant step towards realigning districts fairly. The three-judge panel declined to stay the order requiring redistricting upon the Republicans’ request, but the Supreme Court issued a temporary stay, presumably because there is a Wisconsin case and a Maryland case before it on the issue of partisan gerrymandering. The NC facts are somewhat different, but that apparently did not affect the Supreme  Court decision.

Recently the Campaign Legal Center and Southern Coalition for Social Justice requested that the Supreme Court expedite its schedule on hearing and ruling on the two cases before it so that voters in NC will, hopefully, not have to suffer through another election season that devalues the votes of so many citizens of the state, and deprives them of representation.

In another decision, a different three-judge panel also ruled, in Covington vs, North Carolina, that several state house and senate districts which were redrawn as a result of a Supreme Court ruling on June 5, 2017, were unconstitutional.  The ruling accepted the maps drawn up by the Special Master appointed to draw the maps that affect seven house districts and two senate districts, as well as districts that are contiguous districts to the extent necessary to correct racial gerrymandering. The ruling was challenged by Republicans and the challenge was overruled in a carefully drawn, fact-driven analysis. The Republicans have appealed again to the Supreme Court for a delay in the implementation of this ruling as well.  The plaintiffs have until Friday February 2 to respond to the Republicans motion for a stay, and presumably a decision will come down next week on that as the candidate filing period begins February 12.

Of the 50 Senate seats, 35 are held by Republicans and 15 by Democrats. Of the 120 House seats, 75 are held by Republicans and 35 by Democrats. Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in both houses.

The NC legislature is only in special session now pending the outcomes of the Congressional and state house and senate districts.