North Carolina has been one of the most gerrymandered states for a while now. Several court cases, in various stages of appeal and ruling, are in play to address this issue, which is the most effective way a political supermajority can gain and cement enduring power. The League of Women Voters recently compiled an update on the political and racial gerrymandering cases moving (or not) through the courts.

Covington v NC: In 2015, a trial court found evidence of racial gerrymandering and ordered new districts to be drawn and special elections to be held. SCOTUS affirmed the redrawing, but reversed the order for special elections. The NCGA redrew the districts last year, but the trial court found that some of the redraws didn't solve the gerrymander. The new districts, drawn by a special master, will come into play in 2018.

Common Cause v Rucho & League of Women Voters v Rucho: These two different cases, treated as one because of their similarities, rely on the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment and the guarantee of free association in the First Amendment to argue that to redraw the districts, the NCGA used voter data "from which they were able, with precision, to differentiate people and arrange them in certain electoral districts where some votes do not count as much as others". In other words, racial and political gerrymandering. This past June, SCOTUS remanded the case back to the district court because of the rulings of another gerrymandering case from Wisconsin (Whitford v Gill). In this case, the court ruled that the plaintiffs did not have enough proof to hold up their suit. However, Common Cause/LWV v Rucho was not summarily dismissed like Whitford v Gill; the district court has asked counsel to file additional briefs to bolster their cases by July 11th. So there's still hope.

NC NAACP, LWV of NC, et al. v Lewis: The plaintiffs allege that in redrawing two Wake County districts, the legislature illegally redrew 4 others specifically to help Republican candidates. In May, the plaintiffs filed a motion to ask the court to strike down the redrawn districts for violating the state's constituational provision against mid-decade redistricting. There has been no ruling yet.

The fates of other states' gerrymandering cases also remains in limbo. You can read about them at the bottom of LWV's report and here.

In this Politico article, we see how Ohioans have shown us that it's possible to vote in fairer maps. It's by no means perfect, but it's a step in the right direction, especially given the likely conservative shift of SCOTUS.

The tide of awful seems ever at its peak, so check out whatwentright.org for a dose of warm and fuzzy motivation and a reminder that the darkness isn't completely without candles. Then keep fighting!

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