RALEIGH – Republicans have just been dealt a major congressional blow in North Carolina, as federal judges have agreed that the southern state’s congressional districts are illegally gerrymandered and must be redrawn quickly. It was ruled that the districts violate the US constitution and that they were designed to benefit Republican candidates at the expense of non-Republican voters. Judges have given the North Carolinian legislature till January 24th to propose to them a “remedial plan”, but courts had cautioned they could begin preparations to release a map of their own should the newly drawn map leave Democratic voters suppressed. This adds further jurisdictional problems for a state already hampered by political chaos.
The ruling comes as a first, as a federal court has never before in the history of the United States blocked a congressional map due to Judges being lead to believe the map was inherently biased and a partisan move to secure power in a state. The move has been hailed as a triumph for Democracy and that every American regardless of class, race, creed, religion etc should have equal representation in the Federal Government based in Washington. Courts have also ordered that the state cannot hold elections under the jurisdiction of the current congressional districts.
Gerrymandering is the act of manipulating congressional districts to favor a certain party or socioeconomic class. Similar to lobbying, it has been a rampant issue in the United States, and it is also a way for parties to consolidate power in specific states. The Republican Party has been notorious for gerrymandering districts and has in many regions made Democratic voters powerless. Back in May 2017, the US Supreme Court struck down on North Carolina’s congressional districts, claiming they were illegal and discriminated based on race.
The move comes during a midterm year, where Republicans will be looking to defend and strengthen their majorities in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate. With North Carolina’s congressional district map being redrawn, the state’s local GOP associate is ought to worry, as their powerful hold on the state could shatter due to changing demographics, with more Democratic voters pouring into the state and helping to shape “The New South.” Regardless, it’ll be worth keeping an eye out for North Carolina in the coming 2018 midterm elections, as only a handful of Democrats hold representative office, and none hold any seats in the Senate, while Republicans hold the Senate seats and a majority of US House of Representative seats.