Court strikes down North Carolina congressional map

A state court on Monday threw out North Carolina's congressional map, arguing the state's 13 districts were an example of "extreme partisan gerrymandering" in a decision that could have major consequences in 2020. 

The panel of three judges imposed a preliminary injunction on the state using the map, saying the current congressional districts could violate the "fundamental rights" of certain voters.

The ruling will allow the North Carolina General Assembly to redraw the districts for the 2020 election instead of having an outside expert do it. The judges did not set a specific deadline for the redrawn districts but said the process should be "expeditious."

"The Court respectfully urges the General Assembly to adopt an expeditious process ... that ensures full transparency and allows for bipartisan participation and consensus to create new congressional districts that likewise seek to achieve this fundamental constitutional objective," the ruling said.

The complaint filing came after the same panel of judges ruled in a separate lawsuit that state legislative districts violated the rights of Democratic voters and needed to be withdrawn before the 2020 election. GOP leaders did not appeal this decision and returned with new maps two weeks later, with many of the new districts passing, The News & Observer reported.

Democrats earlier this year challenged the congressional map, with one attorney arguing it was "the most extreme and brazen partisan gerrymander in American history."
It is unclear whether state Republicans will challenge the ruling.