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The Latest: N Carolina partisan gerrymandering trial wraps

July 26, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a North Carolina trial into whether state legislative districts were illegally designed to give Republicans an unfair advantage in elections (all times local):

6:10 p.m.

A North Carolina judicial panel will likely spend weeks deliberating whether they can identify when politicians go too far in drawing voting districts to their advantage, a judgment the U.S. Supreme Court refused to make.

A three-judge panel on Friday concluded a two-week trial in which Democrats and their allies argued legislative districts violate the state constitution by so favoring Republicans that elections were largely predetermined.

Republican attorney Phil Strach wrote in closing remarks that the plaintiffs failed to define how judges would know if gerrymandering has gone too far.

An appeal is likely whatever the judges decide.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month in a separate case involving North Carolina’s congressional map that federal courts shouldn’t decide if boundaries are politically unfair, but state courts can.

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12:50 p.m.

A three-judge North Carolina panel is considering whether politicians can be too extreme in drawing voting districts to their advantage, a judgment the U.S. Supreme Court refused to make.

The judges will start deliberating after the two-week trial wraps up Friday. Whatever they decide, an appeal is likely.

At issue is whether legislative districts redrawn in 2017 to address racial bias violate the state constitution because they so favor Republicans that elections were largely predetermined.

An expert for the Republicans, Brigham Young University political scientist Michael Barber, testified that Democrats promote unintentional gerrymandering by clustering around cities in the largely rural state.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a separate case involving North Carolina’s congressional map that federal courts shouldn’t decide if boundaries are politically unfair, but state courts can.

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