Yesterday, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) granted the NC-GOP’s motion to “stay” the court-ordered NC General Assembly redistricting and 2017 Special Elections. This stay is considered temporary pending the Supreme Court’s decision next week about whether it will hear an appeal of the “Covington” case, a process known as “granting cert”. In “Covington,” a three-judge panel found that “race was the predominant factor” in creating the NC legislature maps, and that the NCGA-drawn districts violate both the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.
On August 11, 2016, the US District Court ordered the NC General Assembly to re-draw the maps to comply with the Constitution and Voting Rights Act, noting that North Carolinians “have the right to vote in districts that accord with the Constitution”. Since August, the NCGA has continued to refuse to draw constitutional maps, choosing instead to spend their time in litigation and creating new subjects for litigation. On the eve of Governor Cooper’s swearing in, former governor McCrory’s lawyer sought a stay to prevent NC from holding special elections pending SCOTUS’s decision in this matter.
SCOTUS heard another NC gerrymandering case in December 2016 and this decision could (but may not) signal that the court has reached a decision in that case which would effect SCOTUS’s eventual ruling in Covington. In the meantime, North Carolinians will continue to fight for free and fair elections and we will continue fighting to protect our votes.