GOP’s Racist Gerrymandering Takes Another Hit At The Supreme Court (VIDEO)

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voter's rights

Back in March the Supreme Court ruled on a controversial redistricting plan, drawn up by Alabama Republicans. In The Alabama Black Legislative Caucus v Alabama and The Alabama Democratic Caucus v Alabama five of the Supreme Court justices found the state’s redistricting plan, which was based on race, to be ‘legally erroneous’. At the time, many said the ruling was little more than a ‘small victory’ for civil rights.

But on April 20 the Supreme Court ordered a North Carolina lower court to review its decision on that state’s controversial redistricting plan, using the Supreme Court’s decision in the Alabama case as a guide. Previously, North Carolina’s Supreme Court found that the Republican redistricting plan was constitutional, based on older rulings from the federal court.

The good news is that, while the Supreme Court stopped short of finding the North Carolina plan unconstitutional, the justices made it clear that the states are to use the more recent ruling as a guide for determining whether a redistricting plan violates the constitutional rights of voters.

That’s important for several reasons. First, the March ruling lays the foundation for determining whether a redistricting plan falls under ‘unconstitutional racial gerrymandering,’ in violation of the Voting Rights Act. In the case of Alabama, the state argued that its attempts to pack minority voters into a smaller number of districts was really just an innocent attempt to comply with section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court took exception to that argument, and in its ruling clarified that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act does not require districts to be redrawn based on the racial characteristics of voters, as Alabama attempted to argue.

While liberals have lamented a 2013 Supreme Court decision that found Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to be unconstitutional, in this case that ruling helped to put down Alabama Republican’s bogus attempt to use Section 5 as an excuse for creating voting districts obviously gerrymandered by race. The majority opinion reads:

“once the legislature’s ‘equal population’ objectives are put to the side—i.e., seen as a background principle—then there is strong, perhaps overwhelming evidence that race did predominate as a factor when the legislature drew the boundaries of Senate District 26, the one district the parties have discussed here in-depth.”

The most important element of the Alabama decision was that the court clearly stated that redistricting must be done with the intent to “preserve existing minority percentages in order to maintain the minority’s present ability to elect the candidate of its choice.”

While in the past, conservatives have attempted to use various parts of the Voting Rights Act to ‘justify’ the need to dilute minority voting power, the decision of the Supreme Court in the Alabama case plainly shuts down such redistricting plans as unconstitutional.

On Monday, the state of North Carolina attempted to use the same logic as Alabama, claiming that the GOP’s racist gerrymandering was sincere attempt to comply with the Voting Rights Act. Rather than go over the whole thing again, the Supreme Court simply ordered the state court to read the Alabama decision and use it as a guide for understanding how the court views that argument.

Sadly, it’s likely that Republicans will persist in wasting the court’s time, by forcing the justices to spell it out all over again just for the children in North Carolina’s legislature. Two North Carolina Republicans, state Representative David Lewis and Senator Bob Rucho released a joint statement, following Monday’s decision.

“Today’s procedural ruling is not unexpected, and we are confident that our state Supreme Court will once again arrive at the same result and the U.S. Supreme Court will affirm its decision.”

On what part of reality do they base their great confidence? None, apparently. It’s likely that neither has read the Supreme Court’s Alabama ruling. It’s just as likely that they haven’t got a clue that their state’s position is exactly the same as the state of Alabama’s was in March. But not knowing what they’re talking about rarely stops Republicans from talking anyways.

This video from Vox, via YouTube, looks at how redistricting impacts US elections, and may provide some insight into why North Carolina Republicans are so smug when it comes to their redistricting plans. After all, they’ve been getting away with the same kinds of election rigging schemes for years.

 

Reprinted with permission from Addicting Info

 

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Posted By: Keith

Writer, political junkie, rabid rock music fan, amateur gardener, astronomer and ornithologist, cook extraordinaire, sipper of fine wine and, more than once, the funniest guy in the room.

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