Law Review: Partisan gerrymandering ruled unconstitutional |

Law Review: Partisan gerrymandering ruled unconstitutional

One of my pet peeves is the rigging of elections by politicians. Drawing voting district maps in convoluted configurations to insure victory at the polls at the expense of the party not in power (gerrymandering), is common throughout our fair land.

We recently wrote about Gill v. Whitford, a US Supreme Court case, where the Wisconsin Republican Party was found to be blatantly redrawing districts to favor Republicans.


All eyes have been on North Carolina with the deaths and damage caused by Hurricane Florence.

Before Florence, however, North Carolina’s Republican Party has been wreaking havoc of its own by blatantly redrawing congressional districts under what they called North Carolina’s 2016 Congressional Redistricting Plan. It could just as easily have been called North Carolina’s Republican Party Partisan Plan to Fix Elections.

In a pair of lawsuits, now consolidated, Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, challenged this partisan gerrymandering. It was so corrupt that the redistricting project was commonly referred to as “RED MAP.” That tells you something.


The instructions given to those drawing the maps in North Carolina were “create as many districts as possible in which GOP candidates would be able to successfully compete for office.” Again, the individuals drawing the maps later testified they were “to minimize the number of districts in which Democrats would have an opportunity to elect a Democratic candidate.” My blood started to boil when I was reading this blatant, hugely successful corruption. By the time I finished reading the 315 page Opinion, I was about to explode. But I am okay now. More or less.

Common Cause and the League of Women Voters challenged the gerrymandering as violations of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause. Cases cited concluded that the First Amendment “preserves inviolate the right of the People to elect their Representatives, and therefore bars the State’s from enacting election regulations that dictate electoral outcomes or favor or disfavor a class of candidates.”


The Federal Appeals Court for the Middle District of North Carolina directed the North Carolina parties to meet and confer with the goal of adopting an appropriate redistricting plan in time for the Nov. 6 elections. As the Court wrote “the ‘eleventh hour’ is upon us, if indeed it has not already passed.”


It is expected that the North Carolina Republican Party will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, a Court I am fast losing faith in. Our narcissistic president selects Supreme Court candidates exclusively from a list provided to him by the Federalist Society, a highly partisan Republican group who diligently and selfishly hand-picks strident Republican Supreme Court candidates. No former president in history has been so myopic and partisan.


Supreme Court nomine Brett Kavanaugh made it to the top of the Federal Society list largely by previously opining that a president may not be charged with a crime while in office. A topic of heightened interest with the Mueller investigation (We can only hope.). When Kavanaugh is approved, you can pretty much count on how he will vote on the appeal.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOA’s, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at or

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