In a unanimous decision, three superior court judges in North Carolina ruled on Tuesday that the state's legislative districts are unconstitutional.
The Wake County judges gave the Republican-led General Assembly until Sept. 17 to redraw the state's House and Senate district maps and submit them for review to a court-appointed official. The judges said the maps drawn by the state legislature are "partisan," and the plaintiffs — including the nonprofit government watchdog group Common Cause — were able to prove that "in all but the most unusual election scenarios, the Republican Party will control a majority of both chambers of the General Assembly."
North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger (R) complained that the decision "contradicts the Constitution and binding legal precedent," but said the General Assembly will not appeal. The judges found that the Free Elections Clause of the North Carolina Constitution gave the court the authority to order new districts.
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Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina, said in a statement the court "has made clear that partisan gerrymandering violates our state's constitution and is unacceptable. Thanks to the court's landmark decision, politicians in Raleigh will no longer be able to rig our elections through partisan gerrymandering."
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