Federal Judges Deny Lawmakers Request For Stay In Gerrymandering Case

The Texas case is among several this term that address gerrymandered election maps

A panel of federal judges denied a plea Tuesday from leading Republican legislators seeking to delay a recent order requiring the General Assembly to redraw North Carolina's congressional districts by January 24.

"The General Assembly enacted the plan with the intent of discriminating against voters who favored non-Republican candidates ... and no legitimate state interest justifies the 2016 Plan's discriminatory partisan effect", U.S. Circuit Court Judge Jim Wynn wrote in the majority opinion.

For example, the Wisconsin matter involves state legislative districts, not congressional districts as in North Carolina.

"The Texas Democratic Party will always stand by the rights of Texas voters and will proceed with its partisan gerrymander claim at the next opportunity".

The three-judge panel's denial of a stay was not a surprise to legal analysts.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal from the Texas Democratic Party charging that the Republican-controlled Legislature illegally gerrymandered the state's electoral maps. In North Carolina, U.S. judges ordered that state to redraw its maps because of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering.

The U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled on the separate motion to stay the January 24 deadline.

They argued that there was "an extremely high likelihood" that in one or both of those cases, the high court's ruling would make it necessary for the panel of judges considering any new North Carolina map to "revisit" its decision.

Republican leaders said they will take their appeal and request for a stay to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Osteen and W. Earl Britt of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina ruled that the lawmakers had failed to meet the "heavy burden" required to stay the order. Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican who shepherded these redistricting efforts, stated, "I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to ten Republicans and three Democrats because I do not believe it's possible to draw a map with eleven Republicans and two Democrats".

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