The Supreme Court Says No To North Carolina’s Version of Vote Packing

North Carolina Map

The Supreme Court dealt vote suppressors in North Carolina a blow when it vacated the State Supreme Court’s decision to uphold The Republicans’ 2011 electoral maps.  The Court’s order told North Carolina’s Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling in the case of Dickson v. Rucho in light of the SCOTUS’ March ruling in Alabama Legislative Black Caucus et al. v. Alabama et al

The plaintiff in the North Carolina case, former state rep. Margaret Dickson, expressed satisfaction with the ruling in a statement.

 We have always known that the current maps were unconstitutional and are gratified that the Supreme Court of the United States has now set in motion a way forward for final disposition of this long-running and wrongly-decided case.

The Court’s order told North Carolina’s Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling in the case of Dickson v. Rucho with consideration of the same issues and concerns the Supreme Court raised in the Alabama case.

That ruling was split 5-4 along ideological lines.  The majority held that a three-judge panel didn’t not properly consider complaints that Alabama officials concentrated black voters into too few voting districts, a practice known as “vote packing.”  This is a specific form of gerrymandering that amounts to weakening the influence of black voters.

In the Alabama case, Justice Stephen Breyer criticized the 3-panel court for its failure to review claims of racial gerrymandering on a district-by-district basis instead of statewide.  Justice Breyer went on to say that Alabama’s court should have asked what percentages the minority should have to elect their candidate of choice instead of asking how to maintain minority percentages in districts.

Justice Breyer put the issue squarely when he said, ”Asking the wrong question may well have led to the wrong answer.”

Following the Alabama ruling, Phil Berger, NC’s Senate Leader and Tim Moore, the N.C. House Speaker were “confident” it would not have any impact on North Carolina because The Alabama and North Carolina redistricting cases involve different questions of law.”

They also claimed that Republicans were new to power and besides, they drew districts that were pre-approved by the U.S. Justice Department.  Nothing says personal responsibility like blaming the DOJ for an obvious attempt to rig elections beyond one of the most restrictive vote suppression laws in the country.   On the same day of the Alabama ruling, the Supreme Court declined to consider challenges to that law.

However, North Carolina’s justices will have to review the case on redistricting with a focus on the concerns raised by the U.S. Supreme Court.

This order by the U.S. Supreme Court is a welcomed victory for voting rights in the sense that it does establish limits to the degree of cheating Republicans can get away with.

The order doesn’t rectify the fact that the Supreme Court severely weakened the Voting Rights Act in 2012, resulting in restrictive “Voter ID laws” in Republican-controlled states, including North Carolina.  And, at least for now, North Carolina’s very restrictive “Voter ID law” remains intact. However, at least the Court recognizes that wherever vote packing occurs it raises the same legal question with the same legal answer.


8 Replies to “The Supreme Court Says No To North Carolina’s Version of Vote Packing”

  1. For the record… Kennedy was the justice who joined the 4 liberal justices in this opinion to create the 5-4 majority.

  2. Rethugs have turned this State Inside-Out, Upside-Down and Bankruptcy is on the way. I hope this ruling and review hold. But I’m not too hopeful.

  3. It is a small victory, but nonetheless- a victory for justice.

    The battles will continue until our Rights are won back from the Republican Thieves.

  4. 5-4? You would think it should have been more like 7-2, but Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts are so obviously partisan that it makes one sick. They should not be sitting on any court, let alone The Supreme Court Of The United States.

  5. Like I have said before, the SCOTUS RATS are:
    There is no doubt about it.

  6. It is the US Supreme Courts fault this is happening. The conservatives on the court unleashed the dogs of voter restriction in 2012. It is hard to stuff the genie back in the bottle.

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