The lower court ruling is so fresh that the appeals papers haven’t been filed. And the Supreme Court just agreed to put the ruling on hold while the appeal can filed and resolved.
On January 9, 2018, two organizations won a favorable ruling against the North Carolina state legislature. The ruling ordered the Republican-controlled state legislature to redraw the state’s voting districts for federal congressional elections. The court said the district lines were unfair because they were drawn to secure continued Republican leadership.
Request to the Supreme Court: temporary relief
Just after their loss, the NC legislative members asked the Supreme Court to put the order on hold while they prepared an appeal.
The Supreme Court agreed with the NC legislative members’ request: that North Carolina could wait to see what happens in the appeal. They will not need not to redraw the state’s district lines just yet. Here is the order.
Gerrymandering is a sly method that state officials may use to draw legislative district lines so that they can influence election results. In political gerrymandering (as opposed to racial gerrymandering), the influence goes in favor of a particular political party.
The Supreme Court is hearing two other political gerrymandering cases this term. One of them, Gill v. Whitford (challenge to Wisconsin districting), has been argued already. And the second (challenge to Maryland districting) will be argued soon.
Check out our Gill v. Whitford infographic for an explanation of the legal questions the Court will address.
Credit: Amy Howe’s report on the order.