U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down NC Districts For Being ‘Illegally Based On Race’
In a 5-3 decision, The Supreme Court ruled Monday that North Carolina illegally packed black voters into two voting districts, affirming the decision of a lower court, The Hill reported Monday.
In their ruling, the justices said North Carolina officials used race as the predominant factor in drawing district lines without a compelling reason when they created two districts — the 1st District and the 12th District — with majority-black-voting-age populations.
Both of those districts are represented by Democrats; Rep. G.K. Butterfield represents the 1st District, while Rep. Alma Adams represents the 12th District.
“Although States enjoy leeway to take race-based actions reasonably judged necessary under a proper interpretation of the Voting Rights Act, that latitude cannot rescue District 1,” Justice Elena Kagan said in delivering the opinion of the court, The Hill reports.
“We by no means ‘insist that a state legislature, when redistricting, determine precisely what percent minority population demands.’ But neither will we approve a racial gerrymander whose necessity is supported by no evidence and whose raison d’être is a legal mistake.”
As for the 12th District, the court said the evidence offered at trial, including live witness testimony, adequately supports the conclusion that race, not politics, accounted for the district’s reconfiguration.
In a surprise move, Justice Clarence Thomas, a member of the court’s conservative wing, sided with Kagan and the court’s more liberal members — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.
According to the report, Justice Neil Gorsuch took no part in considering or deciding the case.