Chicago: - Those who fight for democracy and fairness in elections won a major victory recently in North Carolina when a panel of federal judges for the first time declared a congressional map unconstitutional because it reflected a partisan gerrymander.
The legislative defendants wanted the panel to put the January 24 deadline on hold while they pursue an appeal. Another prominent redistricting case addresses the alleged racial gerrymandering of state House and Senate districts.
The nation must wait, for better or worse, for the Supreme Court to act on one case from Wisconsin involving Republicans and another from Maryland involving Democrats, similarly claiming state lawmakers drew district lines for their own parties' gain and no valid objective.
"The court said the Republican-controlled legislature's intent was to subordinate the "interest of non-Republican voters" and "entrench" Republican domination of the state's congressional delegation". That deadline is what this stay had sought to delay.
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Republican leaders said they will take their appeal and request for a stay to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court has directed Common Cause, the plaintiffs and state government to file a response to the legislators' stay request by noon today.
Osteen and W. Earl Britt of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina ruled that the lawmakers had failed to meet the "heavy burden" required to stay the order.
The judges also found that staying the ruling would not injure the lawmakers, but "would substantially injure - indeed irreparably harm - Plaintiffs". "As a result, North Carolinians would cast votes in congressional elections conducted under unconstitutional maps in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018 - virtually the entire decade".