NC court issues ruling for state legislative district maps to be redrawn

Published: Sep. 3, 2019 at 7:25 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV/AP) - A North Carolina trial court has rejected state legislative district maps, stating that they violate the state constitution and must be redrawn.

A three-judge panel issued a ruling Tuesday afternoon ordering the North Carolina General Assembly to redraw its house and senate districts.

According to the Associated Press, the court said lawmakers took extreme advantage from drawing districts to help elect a maximum number of Republicans. The three-judge panel of state judges ruled Tuesday that courts can step in to decide when partisan advantage goes so far it diminishes democracy.

Republicans argued there's no clear way for judges to know what kinds of redistricting are unacceptable. Democrats and their allies said the districts were so gerrymandered they unconstitutionally insulated politicians from changing voting behavior.

Common Cause and other plaintiffs asked the court to order half the House districts and 21 of 50 Senate maps redrawn quickly.

The ruling comes after a weeks-long trial earlier this summer. The order requires the legislature to draw new maps during public hearings in just two weeks. If they don’t meet that deadline, the judges said the 2020 primary could be pushed back.

Senator Phil Berger’s office indicated that they won’t appeal Tuesday’s ruling and will draw nonpartisan maps for the North Carolina House and Senate.

“We disagree with the court’s ruling as it contradicts the Constitution and binding legal precedent, but we intend to respect the court’s decision and finally put this divisive battle behind us,” Sen. Berger said in a statement. “To end this matter once and for all, we will follow the court’s instruction and move forward with adoption of a nonpartisan map.”

Copyright 2019 WBTV. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this story.