WASHINGTON, D.C. – More news from the judiciary. This time, though, it stands to partially side with Republican lawmakers who justifiably opposed a federal court’s appointment of an “independent” Stanford professor to redraw legislative districts that were never even given a proper ruling.
“The U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked a Stanford University law professor’s election districts for state General Assembly seats in Wake and Mecklenburg counties while leaving his maps in place in six other counties while lawmakers appeal a three-judge panel’s ruling.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who hears emergency requests from North Carolina, agreed to partially grant the petition for emergency relief days before candidates are set to file for office.
The order was released early Tuesday evening, and does not elaborate on why election districts for North Carolina’s two largest urban counties were the only two the court blocked.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito noted they would have blocked the ruling in full, while Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor would not have granted the stay, according to the three-paragraph order.
The high court’s decision brings more clarity to the district lines that will be used for state Senate and House seats in 2018.
It comes six days before the filing period opens for candidates seeking a General Assembly seat.[…]”
Too bad Justices Alito and Thomas didn’t have the say, but lucky that Sotomayor and Ginsburg don’t either.
The Supreme Court’s order means more than half of those districts redrawn by the Stanford University law professor will revert to their shapes from last summer. The order said House district changes made in the counties that include Charlotte and Raleigh because of state constitutional concerns are blocked while the full case is appealed, but changes made elsewhere to alleviate racial bias must be used.
A report from the Associated Press on the news tells you all you need to know about Republican’s problems with the “independent” redraw within its first line:
“The U.S. Supreme Court told North Carolina officials late Tuesday they must use some but not all of the state’s legislative districts that other federal judges redrew for this year’s elections.”
Judges are not supposed to draw districts, and that has been the argument all along. These are state functions, to be carried out by state representative bodies, a.k.a. the N.C. General Assembly.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Republicans last month when the justices delayed enforcement of another three-judge panel’s decision that struck down the state’s congressional map for ‘partisan gerrymandering.’ Republicans have been in the courts most of this decade trying to defend their redistricting decisions against challenges by Democrats, because the latter views the court room as the only option to stifle Republican policy.