Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Court Deals NC Major Blow Against Gerrymandering

On Monday, a Federal District Court struck down a Map that North Carolina’s Republican-controlled state Legislature had imposed on the City of Greensboro, the State’s third-largest City. In a remarkable affront to Local Rule, Republican Lawmakers passed a Law in 2015 that replaced the city Council Districts that the City itself had drawn and replaced them with Gerrymandered lines intended to hurt Democratic and Black Voters.

Democrats quickly brought a challenge to this new Map, and the Judges hearing the Case have now put a stop to this usurpation of power. The Court concluded that the Legislature’s Map was an impermissible Racial Gerrymander; that it Violated the Principle of “One Person, One Vote”; and that it unfairly singled out Greensboro. The City-drawn Map had remained in place for the 2015 Elections while Litigation was ongoing, and it will now stay in effect for Elections in fall.

Republicans have gone to greater extremes to Gerrymander in North Carolina than in practically any other State, and no City has been a victim of their abuses more than Greensboro, a heavily Democratic City of 300,000 that is Majority Non-White. Since gaining control over Redistricting in 2010, Republican Legislators have tried to Gerrymander Greensboro’s Districts for Congress, state Legislature, County Commission, County School Board, and City Council. There is literally no Elected Federal, State, or Local Legislative body representing Greensboro that Republican State Legislators haven’t attempted to distort.

In fact, these Gerrymanders are so effective that Greensboro, which typically votes for Democratic Presidential Candidates by a Two-to-One ratio, is represented in the House by zero Democrats. And Guilford County, which is Home to Greensboro and roughly half a million people, likewise supported Clinton by a 58-38 margin, but Republicans have maintained a Majority on the County Commission ever since 2012, when they got to draw the map for it.

Courts have, fortunately, repeatedly smacked down these efforts, invalidating GOP Gerrymanders of Congressional, Legislative, and now Council Districts affecting Greensboro, as well as Gerrymanders of Governing bodies in other populous locales. But these persistent attacks on the principle of self-rule are par for the course for North Carolina Republicans, who have also used their Legislative Majorities, which were only obtained using Unconstitutional Maps that have since been struck down, to try to usurp the powers of Democratic Gov. Cooper after he defeated Republican Gov. Pat McCrory last year.

Republican Legislators remain undeterred and continue to plot new ways to rig Elections, so an Appeal of this Ruling is likely. But given recent victories against GOP Racial Gerrymandering in North Carolina and elsewhere, their chances of success are doubtful.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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