The N.C. Supreme Court ruled that the state’s new congressional and legislative district maps were unconstitutional on Feb. 4. This ruling follows allegations of partisan gerrymandering and racial vote dilution.
"A healthy democracy requires free elections and the NC Supreme Court is right to order a redraw of unconstitutionally gerrymandered districts,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement. “More work remains, and any legislative redraw must reflect the full intent of this decision.”
The state Supreme Court ruled 4-3 against the redrawn maps, concluding the maps violated the free elections clause, the equal protection clause, the free speech clause and the right of assembly clause of the North Carolina Constitution.
N.C. House Rep. Graig Meyer, D-Caswell, Orange, said the ruling is a monumental victory.
“The order really sets a precedent that says it will never be okay again to do partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina, and that you have to take into account racially-polarized voting as well,” he said.
All three Republican justices — Chief Justice Paul Newby, Justice Phil Berger and Justice Tamara Barringer — dissented.
In his dissenting opinion, Newby said the decision of the state Supreme Court oversteps its judicial powers.
“I dissent from the decision of the Court which violates separation of powers by effectively placing responsibility for redistricting with the judicial branch, not the legislative branch as expressly provided in our constitution,” Newby said.
N.C. Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, said she was disappointed in Newby as the chief justice.