Good News: Voting Rights

The Supreme Court ruled that state lawmakers in North Carolina had violated the Constitution by relying too heavily on race in gerrymandering two Congressional districts.

The Supreme Court struck down two North Carolina congressional districts on Monday, May 22, 2017, ruling that lawmakers had violated the Constitution by relying too heavily on race in drawing them, in a decision that could affect many voting maps, generally in the South.

The decision was handed down by an unusual coalition of justices, and was the latest in a series of setbacks for Republican-led legislatures. In recent cases concerning legislative maps in Alabama and Virginia, as well, the Supreme Court has insisted that packing black voters into a few
districts – which dilutes their voting power – violates the Constitution.

The North Carolina lawmakers said they had tried to comply with the Voting Rights Act, which in some settings requires that black voters be concentrated in numbers sufficient to provide them with an opportunity to elect their preferred candidates. But critics of the voting map said the
legislature was actually trying to diminish the number of districts in the state that could be won by Democrats.

SIAN Contact: Ava Kleinman
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Posted in Voting Rights