The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a special election for the North Carolina General Assembly that a lower federal court had set for later this year to remedy a prior state legislative map it concluded discriminated against African Americans.
The order temporarily halts the election until the justices act on the Legislature’s appeal of the lower court’s decision ordering them to draw a new map for state political office. The justices are scheduled to consider whether to hear that appeal at their private meeting on Jan. 19.
In August, a three-judge federal district court found that the Republican-controlled Legislature had drawn an “unconstitutional racial gerrymander” that packed black voters into 28 of 170 state senate and house districts.
The Legislature asserted it did so in part to comply with Voting Rights Act provisions that bar diminution of minority political power. The court, however, sided with African-American voters who argued the map concentrated more blacks than necessary in a relative handful of districts, preventing them from influencing the outcomes in neighboring districts. (Wall Street Journal)