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Another week, another unanimous Supreme Court decision telling the State of North Carolina to fuck right off with their racist gerrymandering. Last week we told you about North Carolina state Senator Richard Rucho who sat down with his buddy state Rep. David Lewis and cooked up a scheme to pack all those pesky brown Democratic voters into a few federal districts. If anyone noticed, they would just say they were complying with the Voting Rights Act (VRA) by creating majority-minority districts. OMG, so clever!

That’s a grossly cynical distortion of the VRA, but these guys are seriously gross. So, they phoned up their favorite Republican mapfucker, Tom Hofeller, and told him to cook them up some Congressional Districts that had higher than 50% Black Voting Age Population (BVAP). And POOF, suddenly all the surrounding districts got a lot redder like magic!

Except the 4th Circuit said, “That’s not how the VRA works!”

And the Supreme Court said, “Yeah! What those guys said!”

And North Carolina said, “Fine! Guess we’ll figure out some other way to ratfuck it.”

But it turns out they’d also had that sumbitch Tom Hofeller work his magic on North Carolina’s state Senate and House Districts. And yesterday the Supreme Court upheld a ruling that tossed 28 illegally gerrymandered local Districts, too. Which is NICETIMES, YAY!

But…

When the federal District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina first looked at these insanely racist districts in 2015, they said, “OMG! YOU MOTHERSCRATCHERS ARE THE CHEATINGEST CHEATERS THAT EVER LIVED! Y’ALL BETTER FIX THEM DISTRICTS AND REDO THOSE 28 ELECTIONS RIGHT NOW!” (More or less.)

North Carolina state Senators and Representatives serve two-year terms, which meant Republicans had already benefitted from their racist maps in three election cycles: 2012, 2014, and 2016. So the District Court told them they had stolen enough, and they had to redraw the legislative maps and hold a special election in November of 2017 for the second half of the Senate and House terms.

While special elections have costs, those costs pale in comparison to the injury caused by allowing citizens to continue to be represented by legislators elected pursuant to a racial gerrymander. The Court recognizes that special elections typically do not have the same level of voter turnout as regularly scheduled elections, but it appears that a special election here could be held at the same time as many municipal elections, which should increase turnout and reduce costs. A special election in the fall of 2017 is an appropriate remedy.

And this is where the Supreme Court parted ways with the trial judges. Because the Supreme Court looked at forcing the state to quickly redraw its districts and hold new elections half-way through the term and said, Eh…maybe the trial court didn’t think hard enough about this.

And in the context of deciding whether to truncate existing legislators’ terms and order a special election, there is much for a court to weigh. Although this Court has never addressed whether or when a special election may be a proper remedy for a racial gerrymander, obvious considerations include the severity and nature of the particular constitutional violation, the extent of the likely disruption to the ordinary processes of governance if early elections are imposed, and the need to act with proper judicial restraint when intruding on state sovereignty…Rather than undertaking such an analysis in this case, the District Court addressed the balance of equities in only the most cursory fashion…That minimal reasoning would appear to justify a special election in every racial-gerrymandering case—a result clearly at odds with our demand for careful case-specific analysis.

The Supreme Court seems concerned that trial courts will begin treating special elections as the default remedy for gerrymandering, which might lead to chaos and draw the courts into the middle of politically polarized local battles.

So now the trial court has to reconsider its ruling from May 2016 ordering the state to redraw the maps and hold a new vote. Only here on Planet Earth, there is zero chance that North Carolina will redraw the maps and hold new elections in five months. And the mapfuckers won again simply by running out the clock. As Think Progress put it,

Whether the justices intended it to or not, however, Covington will also send a clear message to lawmakers engaged in gerrymandering. North Carolina’s maps are illegal. The Supreme Court agreed with that conclusion. And yet North Carolina still got to run several elections under those maps.

That’s a pretty substantial incentive for lawmakers to draw more gerrymandered maps in the future.

On the one hand, it is NICETIMES that the Court is unanimously declaring that districts gerrymandered solely based on race will no longer be tolerated. On the other hand, why should North Carolina Republicans ever draw a fair map if they can steal three election cycles before getting caught?

To be honest, your $5F is pretty ambivalent about this ruling herself. In the end, I tend to trust that Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan are protecting the courts from becoming another tool in the partisan trench warfare of American politics. As terrible as it is that these elections were stolen, it would be EVEN WORSE if we didn’t have an independent judiciary to check the executive and legislative branches. Now is not the time for the Court to waste political capital by entering into North Carolina’s bare-knuckles brawl. Now the Court needs to preserve its strength to deal with the onslaught of Trump lunacy that finally landed on its doorstep this week with the Travel Ban case. It’s gonna be a rough three years.

[Brennan Center / Covington v. North Carolina / North Carolina v. Covington / Think Progress]

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  • John Iwaniszek

    Rucho looks like the kind of man who would wear a chunky gold pinky ring.

    Yes. I am prejudiced.

  • John Iwaniszek

    I was told by an attractive blond legislative aid that the whole race thing was cooked up by the opposition and that the Obama admin had signed off on the plan. Also she said that Rev Barber is considered a terrorist in the GA. I wonder how much more of her life is a lie.

    (I’ll bet she’s really a nasty brunette)

  • Michael R
  • MynameisBlarney
  • Le Covfefe Royal

    If SCROTUS had only left the preclearance requirement of the VRA intact, then the courts wouldn’t be dealing with all these challenges after the fact. I’ll bet John Roberts feels like a chump for what he’s unleashed.
    (I’m kidding, of course he doesn’t)

  • Fudgepackers pack fudge?
    https://www.politusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Mitt-Romney-Fudge.jpg
    White Chocolate is fake!!!

  • goonemeritus

    Any cursory reading of North Carolina political ratfucking would seem improbable and grossly exaggerated to the most cynical among us.

  • calliecallie

    John Roberts can suck it.

  • MynameisBlarney
    • Natalie

      Love the eyes.

  • Bill D. Burger
    • Amy!

      Obvious in-person voter fraud!

      That’s a (cooked) goose, clearly.

  • Bill D. Burger
  • Latverian Diplomat

    Because the Supreme Court looked at forcing the state to quickly redraw its districts and hold new elections half-way through the term and said, Eh…maybe the trial court didn’t think hard enough about this.

    I guess they wouldn’t like my “throw out all legislation passed in the last three terms” idea either.

  • Robbertjan Brandenburg

    It only took about 20 posts and 45 Wonketteers taking the time to write an expalanation about the topic of gerrymandering and I am finally getting close to understanding it.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      I thought it was that Seinfeld episode about wandering around aimlessly. Turns out that was “Jerry Meandering”.

    • Indivisible Snark Tank

      This is a really good primer on it. Yes, it’s 20 minutes, but it’s both very funny AND horrifying, like all John Oliver’s stuff.
      http://youtu.be/A-4dIImaodQ

    • SeeTrain65

      The Washington Post put this up earlier, similar to above. It’s all in the way you divide a population into voting districts.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2cab4767c8c7e2e3e8723dec3c1ee3bfd8ccfe90b88d2209b943b4c7f8b6ce23.png

    • ‘Covfefe is Magic’ Ron

      It’s what you get when you allow the party in power to configure the electoral districts. Most countries with functioning democracies find the idea bizarre.

  • Latverian Diplomat

    But it turns out they’d also had that sumbitch Tom Hofeller work his magic on North Carolina’s state Senate and House Districts.

    “See everybody, North Carolinians didn’t go crazy overnight and demand all that awful hate legislation! It’s just that our State Election process is incredibly corrupt. Nothing to see here, North Carolina is open for business!”
    — NC Chamber of Commerce

  • Bill D. Burger
    • MynameisBlarney

      That guy was great in that role.
      He should be in more stuff.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      Media: Are you lying?
      Trump: Am I a Lion?
      Media: What?
      Trump: I don’t think of myself as a lion, but a I do have a fabulous mane. The best mane. Really Terrific. Mane means head hair, I came up with term just the other day. Another way I’m like a lion is my sons want to shoot me.

      • Nice try, but the sentence stayed too close to one topic.

  • Bill D. Burger

    It’s one of the most obvious and flagrant examples of gerrymandering in the country.

    http://fair.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/NorthCarolinaGerrymander-610×413.jpg

  • TJ Barke

    It’s almost as if they can’t win without resorting to cheating…

    • Latverian Diplomat

      “Even if we could win without cheating, we’d do it anyway. It just feels so good!”
      — Your Republican Party

  • Look, Jeff it’s like this–I got elected for being a racist idiot…
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/081b6db0a6575bba0d1fcd132856b61dd2cc71e2c82a6ae10a14f513da162e8b.png
    My base really, really likes to make slip knots with ropes

    • Latverian Diplomat

      So what happened, did Sessions actually have to say “no” to one of Trump’s stupid ideas?

      • WotsAllThisThen

        Sessions recused himself from obstructing justice. Sad! Weak!

        • cmd resistor

          Not only that, but I think he did it while Trump was getting all this “presidential” credit for his address to Congress. Trump seems to think that the recusal is the reason the special prosecutor got appointed. Also, too, at the end of the story is a line about how it’s not really a “personal” thing/

    • Toomush_Inferesistance

      And let’s hope they all try them out themselves with votes….

  • Gorillionaire

    Thanks for spotlighting this, 5$. Living here in NC feels like I am in enemy territory sometimes.

  • Beowoof14

    The south continues acting like it’s 1875 rather than 2017. Can’t get over they lost the war and still trying to hold people down.

    • Oblios_Cap

      That’s what comes from being too nice to the losers. The mistake was repeated in WWI when we didn’t make Germany surrender and accept full responsibility for the war.

    • Toomush_Inferesistance

      Well, duh! Why do you think they killed Lincoln?….

  • Lyly Sirivong

    So no one can control redistrictings and tell State rep “No you can’t do this, that’s racist and illegal” before elections take place ?

    • ThirdAmendmentMan

      Well yes there are. And in NC, those committees are controlled by Republicans.

      • Lyly Sirivong

        Ok, I get it. Damn, that’s disheartening.

  • natoslug

    Southern Pride means never having to say you’re sorry for boldly strutting backwards.

    • Oblios_Cap

      The Lost Cause was all about states’ rights! One of those rights, the most important one to them, was the right to own other people.

  • Oblios_Cap

    NC Republicans are a special and extremely mean-spirited sort of shitheels.

  • cmd resistor

    I was pretty amazed that the Florida republicans got caught doing shady shit on a redistricting. I remember watching oral arguments online about how the dems needed to do discovery and thinking, yeah, they should get it but no way they will. But they did and in the course of it did find some shit. Of course Florida still sucks but it was something where the GOP didn’t 100% get away with murder.

    • Natalie

      Got caught, yes. Did it, no.
      We have the biggest medicare fraudster as our Gov.
      And Trump got caught bribing our AG.

      • cmd resistor

        And nothing happened with the AG, except she didn’t manage to get a job in his administration. I see she joined a bunch of jerk AG’s in a brief asking the S Court to reinstate the travel ban.

        • Natalie

          She is a POS.

  • Lefty Wright

    One really important consideration is that currently, the NC General Assembly has a veto proof majority in both houses. In NC, only a 60% majority is needed for an override. And the House has less than a 62% majority. With a Democratic governor and less than 60% GOP members in the House, there may be more damage control for the 2018 legislative session. A change of just 3 seats out of 120 would change everything.

    • Duchess Gummybuns

      I was told there would be no math on this exam.

  • Ricky Gay

    Those two mugs give me an itch in my vote-punching fist!

  • guppy06

    your $5F

    I had to look at that 3 or 4 times to realize it wasn’t some sort of system variable.

    • SisterArtemis

      yet

  • Beanz&Berryz

    I just want a SCOTUS case that says once a formerly covered VRA state gets caught at vote rat-fuckery they get pulled back under the VRA for another 50 years, or forever. The fuckers.

    • Beanz&Berryz

      I don’t need SCOTUS to call out the rat fuckers as the fuckers they are, in those exact words.

  • capnkrunch

    If only there were some kind of law that required them to get permission from the feds before they could make changes. Some kind of Voting Rights Act, maybe…

    We so desperately need SCOTUS back.

  • When do we get to throw one of these lawbreakers into jail for failing to uphold their oaths of office? Pretty sure every state has some pretty clear thou shalt not try to corrupt the system ethics rules?
    That might make the fun map making less fun looking ^.^

  • chascates

    Any Wonketters live in western North Carolina? I’ve noticed the mountains have cool weather, lots of attractions, and fairly low housing prices. No medical marijuana yet but it’s bound to be better than the Texas I live in. Oregon may be too pricey for me.
    Thoughts?

    • SisterArtemis

      Oregon is pricey in the bigger towns – Portland, specifically, and to a lesser extent, Eugene, Salem, Bend, etc. But Oregon overall isn’t too pricey, and we have a sorta decent minimum wage setting the wage floor too. And the pot laws…. And the beautiful green countrysides… and the coast… and the mountains… and the nice libruls liberally sprinkled all over, especially in the northwest of the state.

    • Bemused

      Our dept secretary’s son lives in NC. She visits him all the time and loves it.

    • TakingAmes

      Western North Carolina is beautiful. Asheville is in the mountains and full of hippies, Charlotte has lots of big employers and decent barbecue. I spent many childhood vacations in and around Asheville and have very fond memories.

    • SomeGuy

      I live in WNC and will concur with @TakingAmes:disqus, Asheville is a good place to be. The rest of the area… well, comes down to how much you like seeing Confederate flags and Trump/Pence bumper stickers everywhere. Beautiful scenery, though!

    • writersbloc

      Come on down to the Hill Country- you’ll hardly know you’re in Texas as long as you don’t look at the foliage.

      • chascates

        I lived in Austin for about 31 years, spent 4-1/3 years just outside of Taylor, and am now about 14 miles south of Thorndale. I want a place that is cool most of the time, has legal pot, and preferably Blue. I was interested in the area near Corvallis/Eugene, Oregon but it seems to expensive.
        But then I could live in a shitty trailer house easily!

        • Tiny kaiju

          Vermont almost fits the bill. We have medical marijauna and only civil charge for less then some amount I cant remember. Our bland, cookie cutter Republican Governor just nixed fully legal marijuana but maybe the legislature will bring it back. Home prices vary pretty widely depending on location, view and proximity to ski resorts.

        • Beanz&Berryz

          You need a week-long road trip in Oregon between Eugene and Portland. There might be a smallish town thats more blue than red, and cheapish too.

    • Duchess Gummybuns

      Sorry, but I don’t recommend it. I lived up in WNC for several years, and although Asheville is a fairly liberal town, it’s still inundated by the conservative minions that live in the surrounding towns. Charlotte, on the other hand, is so large we’re pretty insulated from that garbage, plus we have a massive minority population (which is why conservatives in NC hate us). But if you’re looking for cheap, Charlotte won’t be for you.

      So, yeah…I was no help at all. 😮

  • gratuitous

    I wonder if this persistent behavior might be enough for Chief Justice Roberts to conclude that Section 5 of the VRA needs to be brought back after all. When Section 5 was in force, states like North Carolina had to submit their districting plans and voting rights laws to the feds for approval. Oddly enough, these states were still trying to rig things for Republicans, but they knew they had to hide it real good or their scheme wouldn’t pass review by the Justice Department.

    Now that Roberts has decided that because Section 5 was so effective in stopping these yahoos, it’s no longer needed, what do you know? North Carolina went right back to designing districts that looked like bug splat and that would result in the maximum number of Republican wins. Maybe Section 5 needs to be revived, huh Johnny?

    • TX Dept. of Space Tacos

      That was very well put. $5F gives us two options, neither of which is ideal (let gerrrymanderers steal 3 cycles worth of elections or force a special election every time the gerrymander is hinky (which is always)).

      And you’re right, as soon as it was gone, NC went right back to it. I think TX did too.

  • Incoming Ham

    What is it about southern bigots and beetle brows? It seems to be a feature.

    • Gregory Brown

      Some of them people are their own daddies.

  • phoenix00

    So why in the blue-and-red hell, in the world’s allegedly free-est country, are elections not drawn up and reviewed by non-partisan committees?

    Oh wait, there are no such things as non-partisans in the USA, just like the comments here at Wonkette. Carry on.

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