The ruling was the first time that a federal court had blocked a congressional map because the judges believed it to be a partisan gerrymander.
A panel of federal judges struck down North Carolina’s congressional map on Tuesday, declaring it unconstitutionally gerrymandered and demanding that the Republican-controlled General Assembly redraw district lines before this year’s midterm elections.
The ruling was the first time that a federal court had blocked a congressional map because the judges believed it to be a partisan gerrymander, and it deepened the political chaos that has enveloped North Carolina in recent years.
“We agree with plaintiffs that a wealth of evidence proves the General Assembly’s intent to ‘subordinate’ the interests of non-Republican voters and ‘entrench’ Republican domination of the state’s congressional delegation,” Judge James A. Wynn Jr. wrote in a 191-page opinion that another judge joined in full.
Later in the ruling, Judge Wynn, an appointee of President Barack Obama, added that the judges believed that Republicans in the Legislature had been “motivated by invidious partisan intent.”
Although the judges said that the state could not conduct its 2018 congressional elections with the existing map, they said they would allow the General Assembly to try again.
The judges gave lawmakers until Jan. 24 to propose a “remedial plan,” but cautioned that the court would begin preparations to issue a map of its own if it found the new district lines deficient.