Jus­tices’ rul­ing could help Democrats rein in GOP

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION -

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.

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