Racism

Supreme Court Strikes Down Gerrymandered Districts in North Carolina

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Good news -- a week after rejecting an appeal for North Carolina's voter ID laws sought by state Republican lawmakers, the Supreme Court has struck down the state's racially gerrymandered districts.

Amazingly, Justice Clarence Thomas concurred with the majority's ruling.

The 5-3 ruling, written by Justice Elena Kagan, was the latest in a series of decisions by the justices against the excessive use of race in redistricting, the decennial process of drawing new district lines for Congress and state legislatures. Justice Clarence Thomas joined the court's four liberal justices in striking down the state's maps. [...]

The North Carolina ruling upheld a federal district court decision that struck down the state's 1st and 12th congressional districts because state lawmakers had packed African American voters into them, thereby minimizing the influence of black voters in other districts. Kagan said the 1st district "produced boundaries amplifying divisions between blacks and whites," while in the 12th, "race, not politics, accounted for the district's reconfiguration."

While he did concur with the majority, Justice Thomas did so for his own reasons, writing that creating a majority-black district was enough on its own to warrant scrutiny from the court.

I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I can't help but feel like Thomas's opinion could be used in unintended (or fully intended) ways.

In any event, it's a new day in North Carolina. Democrats should continue to fight like hell for control of the state. Local Rev. William Barber, leader of the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina, recently announced that he's resigning from the local NAACP to lead a national version of the movement.

  • muselet

    I’ll accept this as good news. I don’t think the news will stay good once Mr Justice Neil Gorsuch gets up to speed, but at least we have something of a reprieve on the voting rights front.

    –alopecia

  • ninjaf

    As a resident of NC District 1, I am very excited to hear it was upheld.

  • Aynwrong

    This is good news for now but it may have only occurred because of how painfully obvious the NC GOP made their intentions when requesting information about where and how African Americans cast ballots in NC.

    Thomas is a typical conservative. Even when he does the right thing he has to claim his reasoning is morally superior because it’s in service to glorious conservatism. (HAIL HYDRA!!!)

    Glad to hear about Rev Barber taking his movement to the national level.

    • Scopedog

      Glad to hear about Rev Barber taking his movement to the national level.

      Me too. It’s also been far more successful than Occupy.

      • Aynwrong

        Good point. Occupy is a great example of the biggest problems of a portion of the left has (at least in my opinion). A refusal to acknowledge that politics is how we get stuff done in this country. Their unwillingness to organize made them effectively useless. A very strange habit given that it has been the left that typically defended the use of collective bargaining.

    • muselet

      Agreed. To my mind, Clarence Thomas was just telling the NC GOP, “Don’t twirl your mustaches, you dummies!”

      –alopecia

  • Nefercat

    I don’t understand Thomas voting reasonably. I’m not being sarcastic. I am really puzzled. Are there pitfalls to this ruling that I am not seeing or understanding that would explain his vote? Because the idea that he is a decent human being committed to justice and the law seems unlikely. Again, I am not being sarcastic.

    • Aynwrong

      Now that you mention it…

    • The only thing I can come up with is that Thomas argument isn’t based on intent but on the outcome. So he’s setting a precedent that says any district that is all any one color can be seen as “unfair” and therefore unconstitutional. This lays the groundwork for challenging heretofore perfectly constitutional districts that were all minorities, thereby hurting Dems more than the GOP. At least that’s what I think was being implied…..

  • Badgerite

    A national version of Moral Mondays. Wow. Very much look forward to that.

    • Scopedog

      And I’ll bet you that it achieve a helluva lot more than Occupy or anything the Bernie-Bros can come up with.

      • Badgerite

        I’ll bet you are right. A call to the “better angels of our nature”. How can anyone argue with that?

      • ninjaf

        I hope you’re right!

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  • gescove

    That is good news.