May 22, 2017
Contact: Bryan Warner, Common Cause NC, 919-836-0027 or

CCNC statement on US Supreme Court ruling against NC racial gerrymandering

RALEIGH – The US Supreme Court on Monday ruled that North Carolina lawmakers unconstitutionally gerrymandered two of the state's congressional districts along racial lines. The decision affirms a lower court ruling in 2016 that ordered the districts to be redrawn.

In response to that ruling, state lawmakers redrew North Carolina's congressional maps last year, that time claiming they would not consider race at all. Instead, legislative leaders openly boasted they would gerrymander along partisan lines to give Republicans maximum advantage.

Their rationale was that while various court rulings have made it clear that racial gerrymandering is unconstitutional, the US Supreme Court has not yet made a decisive ruling on the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering.

Common Cause is among the plaintiffs challenging the NC legislature's partisan gerrymandering scheme in the case of Common Cause v. Rucho. That potentially landmark trial is set to begin on June 26 in Greensboro.

The following is a statement from Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC:

"We applaud the Supreme Court for clearly affirming that racial gerrymandering is unconstitutional. Sadly, state lawmakers responded to rulings against their unconstitutional racial gerrymandering by then gerrymandering along partisan lines.

"The result has been rigged elections that continue to deny North Carolina voters of their constitutional right to have a voice in choosing their representatives. That's why challenging partisan gerrymandering is so important now.

"We are hopeful that the court will find that like racial gerrymandering, partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional."

Common Cause NC is a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging citizen participation in democracy.

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