Unconstitutional Beyond A Reasonable Doubt
In a landmark decision on Feb. 4, 2022, the North Carolina Supreme Court struck down the state’s enacted congressional and legislative maps for being partisan gerrymanders that violate the N.C. Constitution, calling them “unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt.” Read their decision here.
The court ruled that partisan gerrymandering claims can be subject to trial in a court of law and any map “that diminishes or dilutes a voter’s opportunity to aggregate with like-minded voters to elect a governing majority…infringes upon that voter’s fundamental right to vote.”
The court has given the NC Legislature until Feb 18th to redraw the maps using “neutral redistricting criteria.” If the Legislature fails to enact new maps, the court will take over the process.
Background and How it Impacts Your Town
Redistricting happens once every 10 years. It uses the census to adjust for state-level population changes in North Carolina and draw new district maps from the federal to the local level. It impacts how funding is distributed for everything from healthcare, schools, and roads– so it’s a big deal for you and your town.
We should pick our leaders– they shouldn’t choose us!
No matter our color, background, or zip code, voters should pick the leaders, not the other way around. District lines should give our votes equal weight and equal stature and our communities access to equal resources.
Make sure your lawmakers hear from you during this important time! Make sure they know we are watching. Working together collectively can make positive change, help shape the process and give North Carolina communities a better outcome for the next decade.
Call, email, tweet, or write letters to your state legislators to insist on fairly drawn maps and demand transparency throughout the process. Democracy NC has made it easy. Use their tool here.
What does the NC Supreme Court decision mean for us?
Our win in the NC Supreme Court not only threw out the unfair maps, but they set a new standard for how maps can be created.
- The ruling means partisan gerrymandering is now unconstitutional and illegal in North Carolina. While partisan gerrymandering has always been an insult to free elections and representative democracy, technological advances in recent years have allowed legislators to target certain voters with surgical precision in far more obvious attempts to entrench their own power.
- The North Carolina Supreme Court’s historic decision affirms voters’ fundamental right to freely choose their own representatives, preventing any politician, Republican or Democratic, from rigging voting maps for their own personal gain.
- The ruling was also an absolute win for North Carolina’s Black voters, who were most harmed by these extreme partisan gerrymanders. The Court’s instructions to follow their precedent in earlier redistricting cases means legislators will have to conduct analyses required by the Voting Rights Act, and protect the ability of Black voters to elect candidates of their choice — especially in Eastern North Carolina.
- The majority’s order explicitly lays out easily understood and applicable redistricting methods and neutral redistricting criteria. Treating North Carolina’s voters equally is not rocket science — and the North Carolina Supreme Court order is an opportunity for the N.C. General Assembly to find the moral courage to do right by our state’s residents. We deserve nothing less.
Important Dates for You To Know:
- Feb. 18: The N.C. Legislature has until Feb. 18 to submit an alternative redistricting plan; if they don’t submit a plan, the trial court can select a different plan from the other parties from the lawsuit.
- Feb. 21: Comments on the maps must be submitted to the trial court by Feb. 21. Follow
- Feb. 23: The trial court must approve maps on or before Feb. 23.