Justices’ ruling could help Democrats rein in GOP
RALEIGH | North Carolina Democrats could face better odds of winning more legislative seats and helping Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper thwart the GOP’s conservative agenda because of U.S. Supreme Court actions Monday in a case about racial bias in election districts drawn by Republicans.
In a one-sentence order, the justices upheld a lower-court ruling that struck down 28 state House and Senate districts because they were illegal racial gerrymanders that violated the rights of black voters.
But voters may have to wait nearly 18 more months for the ruling to yield results, since the justices separately rejected an order by the same three-judge panel to hold special elections this fall in districts that must be redrawn by lawmakers. They wrote that the three judges should have done a better job evaluating whether moving up the schedule was warranted.
The three-judge panel could order new districts in time for the regular cycle of elections that would end in November 2018. While Monday’s opinion doesn’t prevent the judges from reaffirming a special election schedule this fall, the window to carry it out is small.