Judges reveal the true voter fraud in North Carolina

Illustration of the State of North Carolina silhouette map and flag. Its a JPG image

Robert Rucho and Rep. David Lewis, co-chairs of the Joint Select Committee on Congressional Redistricting; Timothy K. Moore, speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives; and Philip E. Berger, president pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate.

The congressional boundaries in question were drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2011 after the 2010 census.

Judge Jim Wynn of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote, "We find that the General Assembly drew and enacted the 2016 plan with intent to subordinate the interests of non-Republican voters and entrench Republican control of North Carolina's congressional delegation".

"And warming the heart of constitutional law professors everywhere, the court twice cited John Hart Ely, the progenitor of the argument that judicial intervention is most necessary (and most appropriate in a democracy) when there has been a malfunction of the political process", he continued.

The request comes less than a day after the state officials filed a notice of their appeal to the Supreme Court. It is one of several cases nationwide involving redistricting.

In an emergency application, the Tar Heel State lawmakers focused on time constraints - as well as "multiple entirely novel theories" the lower court adopted in Tuesday's ruling - that struck down the state's 2016 congressional map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. The judges said Republicans had drawn it to their advantage. A federal court ruled in favor of the congressional map in Pennsylvania, not finding that they were partisan gerrymandering.

Lawmakers suggest that the more "sensible course" is to stay the federal court's decision until the U.S. Supreme Court makes its decision in a separate partisan gerrymandering case out of Wisconsin, Gill v. Whitford. The lawsuit was filed nearly 6 years after the plan became law and after three Congressional elections had been held. That case is the one to watch, said Michael Li, a gerrymandering expert at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

"I wouldn't read too much into this [federal] decision", Li said.

"Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge P. Kevin Brobson's December 2017 recommendation stated: "While Petitioners characterize the level of partisanship evident in the 2011 Plan as "unfair", Petitioners have not articulated a judicially manageable standard by which this Court can discern whether the 2011 Plan crosses the line between permissible partisan considerations and unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering under the Pennsylvania Constitution".

"Although there may be a case in which a political gerrymandering claim may successfully be brought under the Elections Clause, this is not such a case".

A three-judge panel on Wednesday rejected the argument that the map should be thrown out because it gives a political advantage to Republicans. There were statements similar to that made by the legislators in Wisconsin. He renewed his call for plaintiffs to "abandon their costly legal actions and allow the legislature's examination of reforms to move forward". "Spearheaded by the League of Women Voters, this lawsuit is partisan politics under the guise of good public policy", Scarnati said.

"Plaintiffs themselves described being alienated from the political process. In my opinion, gerrymandering will only cause voter turnout to decline even further", Baylson wrote.

The justices heard arguments in the fall over partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin state legislative districts and could rule in coming months. He proposed his own version, which consists of less-fragmented districts.

Fair Districts PA and other good government groups are sponsoring an informational forum 7-9 p.m. Friday in the Fellowship Hall of First Presbyterian Church of Allentown. It also names Gov. Wolf, members of the General Assembly and other state officials.

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