GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – The United States Supreme Court on Monday denied an appeal from Republicans in the General Assembly to intervene on the congressional voting maps under which candidates
have filed for the 2022 election.
The news, first reported by CNN, and the court also rejected a similar appeal from Pennsylvania. A statement issued by Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh seemed to indicate the court used a similar logic it had used last month when rejecting a redraw of maps in Alabama. Kavanaugh then cited the Purcell principle that established such a question was too near the candidate filing window and election.
But Kavanaugh also indicated in his statement that the court may consider these arguments on some future case, opening the window for rewriting the precedence the court had established for saying such matters were left to state courts.
Kavanaugh, in his concurrence, to deny the application to stay the electoral map said he and Justice Alito agree that “both sides have advanced serious arguments on the merits. The issue is almost certain to keep arising until the Court definitively resolves it.”
He said if there is an appropriate petition that he believes the court should review the issue — “either in this case from North Carolina or in a similar case from another State. If the Court does so, the Court can carefully consider and decide the issue next Term after full briefing and oral argument.”
“In their emergency application, however, the applicants are asking this Court for extraordinary interim relief— namely, an order from this Court requiring North Carolina to change its existing congressional election districts for the upcoming 2022 primary and general elections.”
“In light of the Purcell principle and the particular circumstances and timing of the impending primary elections in North Carolina, it is too late for the federal courts to order that the district lines be changed for the 2022 primary and general elections, just as it was too late for the federal courts to do so in the Alabama redistricting case last month.”
“We are disappointed in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision allowing elections under a Congressional map drawn by the conflict-ridden special masters to continue,” Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) said in a released statement. “While we’re focusing on the 2022 elections, we will continue to evaluate this decision and next steps in this case.”
Briefs were submitted to the court last Wednesday on the appeal filed two weeks ago by
to challenge the validity of the map that redefined the 14 congressional districts in the state after the originals adopted in November by the General Assembly were determined to be partisan gerrymanders designed to expand Republicans’ control in both Raleigh and Washington.
The filing process ended Friday at noon, and there are some large contingents – 13 candidates in the 13th District and 15 in the 11th – in what could be the most competitive electoral landscape the state has seen. But the Supreme Court could have interrupted all of that.
House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) et al asked the Supreme Court to overturn the map approved last week by a Republican-majority, 3-judge panel in Wake County Superior Court, saying that
court had no right to draw a map, that it was the constitutional purview of the
That Republican-majority panel in Wake County employed three former judges as
special masters to review remedial maps that the state Supreme Court had ordered to be drawn because legislators original maps for congress and the General Assembly were judged to be unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders designed to insulate if not expand Republicans’ control in Washington and Raleigh.
The special masters approved the maps lawmakers drew for the state House and Senate
but “modified” the map for congress, citing in their ruling that lawmakers were
responsible to draw the maps and they simply adjusted some districts. All those
maps were appealed by all parties – the North Carolina League of Conservation
Voters, Common Cause, a Harper et al group of voters (the three plaintiffs) –
and Republicans in the General Assembly.
The state Supreme Court rejected those appeals last week, enacted the maps, and
candidate resumed filing for office on Friday. The primary is scheduled for May
17, with possible run-offs in July.
Zach Schauf, the attorney who argued the case for NCLCV, said in a statement, “We applaud the Supreme Court for their decision today, allowing orderly elections to proceed with a congressional map that treats all citizens fairly and equally, regardless of party, region, or race.”