(CN) – The Supreme Court on Monday said it will consider North Carolina’s appeal of a court ruling that said state lawmakers relied too heavily on race in drawing congressional districts.
North Carolina Gov. Patrick McCrory and the state Board of Elections petitioned the Supreme Court in April to stay a ruling by the three-judge panel in federal court that threw out controversial congressional districts drawn in 2011, resulting in a delay in the state’s congressional primary.
The three-judge panel ruled in early February that two North Carolina congressional districts, the 1st and the 12th, violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment because the state relied too heavily on race in redrawing the district maps.
The state denies that conclusion. Nevertheless, the General Assembly went ahead and dramatically redrew the congressional district map. Voters challenged the new districts as well, but the same three-judge panel that tossed the first set of districts allowed the state to hold its congressional primary on June 7.
North Carolina says the two districts were created to ensure that blacks have an equal opportunity to elect their preferred candidate in accordance with the Voting Rights Act and several subsequent high court decisions, and it is asking the justices to consider whether the trial court’s finding of racial gerrymandering was based on erroneous fact-finding.
As is their custom, the justices did not explain their rationale for adding the case to their fall calendar.
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