The war continues over redistricting heading into the midterms, and Republicans in North Carolina were just dealt a massive blow. By a 4-3 vote along partisan lines, the Supreme Court there has struck down the 11-3 R to D map, ordering a new one be submitted by February 18th.
And there it is: the NC Supreme Court, in a 4-3 ruling along party lines, strikes down the GOP congressional map that might have led to an 11R-3D split, orders NC's General Assembly to submit new maps by Feb. 18th. https://t.co/aYO2e88Jny pic.twitter.com/8fG3aAqgmx
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) February 4, 2022
How bad is this ruling? It’s so bad that Democrats could actually end up gaining a seat over the old map, despite Republicans controlling the legislature and the redistricting process. That’s because the court has ordered a “partisan fairness” standard be used, which would presumably split the seats via some kind of statistical makeup of the state.
That is a disaster because New York is finalizing a massive Democrat gerrymander that would eliminate three Republican seats and make the split 22-4 D to R. Illinois has already cemented its ridiculously tilted map, and states like Maryland and California have also added Democrat seats to the mix with far-reaching gerrymanders.
Yet, in Republican states, we are seeing courts step in to stop the GOP from fighting fire with fire. Alabama recently saw its GOP-drawn map struck down, and now the decision in North Carolina has taken place. The deck is being stacked for Democrats before the first vote is counted, and they are going to be in a position to possibly hold the House now (though, still not likely) — all because gerrymanders are being allowed in all the blue states but while they are being shut down in red states. It’s maddening.
Still, there are some paths to make up ground if Republicans choose to take them, and they mostly reside in Florida and Missouri. Texas has already wussed out, passing a map that made Democrats more than happy, only adding one extra GOP seat. Florida, on the other hand, has a chance to draw a 20-8 R to D map (Gov. Ron DeSantis is putting major pressure on the legislature to get it done). That becomes especially doable if the conservative Florida Supreme Court strikes down FL-5, which is expected. In Missouri, all the levers of power are held for the GOP to draw a safe 7-1 gerrymander.
There’s also the possibility of appealing the North Carolina decision to the US Supreme Court, which Republicans should absolutely do.
Maybe this is crazy, but I could see Republicans appealing to SCOTUS, arguing that the state court ruling usurped the power of the state legislature to set the rules for congressional elections in Art. 1 s 4. Would require SCOTUS to overturn Arizona Ind. Redist. case /1 https://t.co/4HxB4jWOG0
— Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) February 4, 2022
There is no excuse for the GOP to back down, certainly not after we’ve seen the redistricting advantage swing firmly in favor of Democrats via these various court rulings. Yes, Democrats are likely to lose the House no matter what in November, but they could regain control quickly if Republicans don’t do everything in their power to solidify a map that is winnable for the next 10 years. Now is the time to go scorched earth. Anything less is unacceptable.