The new redistricting plan for the North Carolina state House and state Senate districts in Guilford County – drawn by the special master appointed by the federal court – have been released.
The plan was drawn without consideration for incumbents and may be amended before being submitted to the federal court Dec. 1.
Courts are not supposed to be partisan but in this case having lines drawn in a nonpartisan fashion is extremely partisan.
One of the huge advantages to being the majority party is that the majority party gets to draw the districts to its own advantage. So for over 100 years the Democrats in North Carolina got to draw the districts to help Democrats get elected, but in 2010, when the Republicans won a majority in districts drawn by the Democrats, the federal courts decided that the Republicans couldn’t draw legal districts.
The issue is far more complicated than is presented by the mainstream media because the mainstream media usually report that the federal courts have found that the districts were racially gerrymandered. What the mainstream media don’t usually report is that the US Department of Justice requires North Carolina to racially gerrymander the districts.
The state is required to draw a certain number of black majority districts to facilitate electing black representatives and senators. So race has to be a factor in drawing the districts because, if the Justice Department determines that enough districts do not have a high enough percentage of black voters to elect black representatives and senators, then the districts won’t be approved.
What the courts have found wrong with the North Carolina districts is that some districts have more black voters than they need. What the courts won’t tell North Carolina is what the magic number is that is just enough black voters but not too many. If the courts would release the magic number, that would do away with a lot of lawsuits; but it also wouldn’t allow the courts to redraw districts the way the federal judges want them drawn. However, it seems like if what federal judges really want to do is draw legislative districts they should run for the legislature.
Redrawing the districts is partisan because the true purpose of hiring a special master is to negate the advantage of the majority party having the right to draw partisan districts.
The directions from the court to the grand master were to draw districts in a completely nonpartisan fashion. In other words, draw districts that are more favorable for Democrats than Republicans would draw. So by going to federal court and getting in front of Democratic judges, the Democrats can get what they can’t win at the ballot box.
According to the North Carolina Constitution, the state legislature draws the districts, and according to opinions by the US Supreme Court it is not unconstitutional to draw districts to favor one party.
The maps drawn by the special master at a cost to the state of $500 an hour put both State Sen. Trudy Wade and State Sen. Gladys Robinson in District 27.
State Rep. Jon Hardister and state Rep. Amos Quick are in District 59. Hardister recently moved because the districts drawn by the Republican majority put Hardister and Rep. John Faircloth in the same district. Hardister might want to consider getting a camper.
State Rep. John Blust and State Rep. Pricey Harrison were both put in District 61 by the special master.
When asked about the redistricting done by the special master, Blust said, “I think it’s Democrat gerrymandering.” He added, “There is no requirement that the districts be drawn nonpartisan.”
According to the special master, some shapes are good for districts and some are bad. A circle is good and an L shaped district is bad. It would have been nice if he had gone into some more detail for the state legislature for when they have to draw districts in 2021, because knowing things like circles are good and L’s are bad is helpful. What about a C-shaped district? It’s almost a circle; would that be good or bad? You have to imagine that a Z would be a bad shape for a district but what about a trapezoid?
For some reason drawing a circle in the middle of Greensboro is considered a really good district. A district that included Greensboro in its entirety would make sense, but why drawing a circle in Greensboro is wonderful is hard to imagine. Maybe it looks good when projected on a big screen.
The whole issue is ridiculous and it brings up another point: federal Middle District Court Judge Catherine Eagles is not the only judge in the Middle District, and cases are supposed to be assigned at random. So how is it that Eagles seems to be on all the redistricting cases around here?
The North Carolina legislature cannot appeal the case until the judges make a final ruling, and considering how they have behaved so far they are probably trying to delay the ruling until the last minute before filing opens in February for the 2018 legislative election. But even if filing has to be delayed, the state legislature needs to appeal this case.
If federal judges appointed for life by a Democratic president are the only people in this country who can legally draw districts then there is something seriously wrong with the legal system.
The people of North Carolina elected Republicans to the majority in the legislature and the Republicans have a legal obligation to draw the districts.
It seems unlikely that the US Supreme Court is going to want to spend all of its time drawing legislative districts, and however these districts finally get approved, it’s only four years until 2021, when the whole process will start over.