A North Carolina court gave Republicans a big win Tuesday when it upheld the state's new congressional and state legislative lines and rejected claims from Democratic voting rights groups that it was an unfair gerrymander, according to a report from the Daily Caller.
While the case will likely be appealed, the decision as it stands could affect this year's midterm elections, in which Republicans are seeking to retake the House of Representatives. North Carolina is gaining a 14th seat, and the new congressional map could give Republicans an 11-3 advantage, up from the 8-5 split now.
In the ruling, the panel of three Superior Court judges wrote that redistricting ''is an inherently political process,'' and that the challengers did not present enough about the maps to show ''extreme partisan gerrymandering.''
''This Court neither condones the enacted maps nor their anticipated potential results. Despite our disdain for having to deal with issues that potentially lead to results incompatible with democratic principles and subject our State to ridicule, this Court must remind itself that these maps are the result of a democratic process,'' the judges wrote.
At last week's trial, lawyers for the Democrats argued that the map selected was an extreme outlier that Republicans chose merely for political gain. Republicans countered, however, that the new lines were drawn legally and that the court was unable to determine if it was too partisan to stand.
Whether or not the map survives was probably not determined by Tuesday's ruling, as the case could end up before the North Carolina Supreme Court in the coming weeks, where Democrats hold a 4-3 majority. The court has already delayed the state's primaries, moving them from March to May, to give the lawsuit adequate time to unfold.
North Carolina's map is one of a few in states across the country that have faced court challenges. Democrats have argued that maps in Ohio, Texas and Georgia are gerrymanders, while Republicans have made the same claim regarding maps in Maryland, Illinois and New Mexico.
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