The Republican Party and media/propaganda arm is up in arms over President Obama following the Constitution and nominating a replacement for the recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. But already the effects of a Scalia-less court are being felt.
And not in the GOP’s favor. Late on Friday – just before 10 pm – the Supreme Court let stand a February 5 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina which ruled that congressional redistricting maps were invalid.
The order is a single sentence:
“The application for stay presented to The Chief Justice and by him referred to the Court is denied.”
The state had been ordered by the district court to redraw two maps within two weeks. In effect, the maps in question were based on the race of voters. Both districts, the 1st and 12th, are majority black districts.
The problem for Republicans is explained by Nadia Prupis at Common Dreams:
The two districts in question for years have been electing black representatives. Three voters in 2013 took legal action to invalidate the districts, which are currently represented by G.K. Butterfield in the 1st, and Alma Adams in the 12th, both black Democrats.
Republicans said, ‘we can’t be having that.’ But a pen taken to a map can make black voters suddenly cease to exist.
According to State Senator Josh Stein, speaking to The New York Times, “North Carolina is a 50-50 state, and yet this map all but guarantees 10 out of our 13 congressional delegations will be Republican.”
Problem solved. Or so they thought.
The state duly redrew the maps, as ordered, but requested a stay from the Supreme Court pending appeal. You know, with a big election coming up and all.
But now the Supreme Court has said no stay, which required five votes, and though SCOTUS hasn’t revealed what the vote totals were (no dissents are given on the order), it is possible that if Scalia had been alive as a crucial fifth vote, North Carolina would have gotten its stay.
Whether Obama nominates and has confirmed a replacement for Scalia, conservatives could continue to suffer. Poetic justice at the very least.
And it is not like the odds are good – except in their dreams – that they will have a man in the White House to nominate a justice more to their liking.
The GOP just had a very bad day.