North Carolina's Congressional Voting Map Fails Again in Court

(Bloomberg) -- North Carolina’s congressional voting map was again deemed unconstitutional by a panel of federal judges for giving Republicans too much of a partisan advantage -- and the boundaries may need to redrawn before the November election.

This time, following a review ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court, the same three-judge panel that previously found the map unfair indicated Monday that it’s losing patience with state lawmakers -- and may take matters into its own hands.

In a fierce effort by Democrats to try to wrest control of the House from Republicans on Nov. 6, each side is trying to gain advantages wherever it can across the U.S. A redrawn map in North Carolina could swing a few seats to the Democrats.

“We continue to lament that North Carolina voters now have been deprived of a constitutional congressional districting plan -- and, therefore, constitutional representation in Congress -- for six years and three election cycles,” the panel said in its 321-page ruling.

The judges said they haven’t made a final decision on whether to let the state’s General Assembly take another crack at fixing the map, adding that they intend to appoint a neutral expert to work on “an alternative remedial plan.”

The judges stopped short of ruling that the current map can’t under any circumstance be used for the November election and directed stakeholders to submit more written arguments. But the panel did forbid the 2016 district map from being used in any election after November 2018.

Representatives of the North Carolina attorney general’s office and private attorneys representing state lawmakers in the case didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Two of the judges were appointed to their current positions by Democrats, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. The third, appointed by George W. Bush, partly dissented from the ruling.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.