North Carolina Republican legislators have started trying to block a federal court ruling ordering them to draw new congressional districts because the judges said the GOP went too far to protect its partisan advantage with the current boundaries.
The district court, which took months to issue an opinion in the case, gave the state just two weeks to redraw the map while the filing period for primary elections begins February 12, the lawmakers state in the application.
RUSTY JACOBS, BYLINE: A federal court had already found that two of North Carolina's congressional districts drawn in 2011 were illegally racially gerrymandered.
The decision may also lend support to two other challenges to gerrymandering now before the Supreme Court.
The Republican leader of the Pennsylvania state Senate is applauding a ruling that leaves in place the state's congressional district map.
On Tuesday, a three-judge panel rejected the previous map drawn by the Republican-controlled General Assembly, saying it violates the Equal Protection Clause, the First Amendment and Article I of the Constitution.
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.
By midday Friday, the federal judges had not yet ruled on the state legislative case but told attorneys last week that they were aware of the tight timeline before the filing period.
The request notes the Wisconsin legislature was given nine months to redraw their state level districts which were found to be partisan gerrymanders. The GOP won 10 seats in November 2016. In a devastating and almost 200-page rebuke written by Judge James A. Wynn Jr., they ordered that new, fairer districts for 2018 be drawn before the end of January.
They request a ruling from the highest court by January 22.
Gerry Cohen, a former legislative staffer who worked on redistricting plans from 1981 to 2011, echoed on Friday what he said past year after North Carolina's congressional maps were declared to have two unconstitutional gerrymanders. Late Friday, Roberts asked for a response by next Wednesday to the delay request from the election advocacy groups and Democratic voters who sued over the congressional map.
They contend that the decision is "all the more problematic because it will inevitably interfere with North Carolina's congressional election cycle".