Republican state senators in North Carolina review state maps while drawing new congressional districts on Feb. 16, 2016.Corey Lowenstein/AP
A couple of months ago a state court in North Carolina struck down the legislature’s gerrymandered maps for state legislative districts. Today the same court struck down the maps for congressional districts.
(Why a state court? Because the Supreme Court ruled a while back that federal courts shouldn’t get involved in partisan gerrymandering cases. State courts, however, still have jurisdiction.)
This is good news since the North Carolina case is something of a destruction test for gerrymandering decisions. The behavior of the North Carolina legislature has been almost literally beyond belief: first they gerrymandered based on racial classifications, and after that was struck down they generated a nearly identical map but carefully made sure race was never mentioned in the legislative record. Even then, though, they were so greedy that they created a map that almost literally made it impossible for Democrats to ever win a majority no matter how the vote went.
If a map like that can’t be overturned, then pretty much no map can ever be overturned. This means that judicial review of gerrymandered maps may be hanging on by only a thread, but at least it’s still hanging on. More here.