A North Carolina court Tuesday upheld the state’s new congressional and state legislative lines, rejecting claims from Democratic groups that it was an unfair gerrymander giving Republicans in the state a big win.
While the case may be appealed, the decision as it stands now could impact the 2022 midterm elections, where Republicans are seeking to reverse Democrats’ narrow House majority. North Carolina is gaining a 14th seat, and the new congressional lines could give Republicans an 11-3 advantage, up from the 8-5 split now.
The Democrats’ lawyers argued during last week’s trial that the map chosen was an extreme outlier that Republicans picked solely for political gain. Republicans, however, said that the new lines were drawn legally and that the court was incapable of determining whether it was too partisan to stand.
Tuesday’s ruling does not mean that the map will ultimately survive. The case could land before the North Carolina Supreme Court in the coming weeks, where Democrats hold a 4-3 majority, and the court has already delayed the state’s primaries from March until May to give the lawsuit adequate time to play out.
North Carolina’s map is one of a handful in states across the country that have been challenged in court. Democrats have alleged that maps in Ohio, Texas and Georgia are gerrymanders, while Republicans have done the same regarding maps in Maryland, Illinois and New Mexico.
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