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Michael Li @mcpli
, 28 tweets, 15 min read Read on Twitter
BREAKING: Federal court rules that plaintiffs in North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case have standing to pursue claims (with one exception) and affirms earlier ruling that congressional map is unconstitutional.… #fairmaps 1/
Decision is 2-1, with Judge Osteen dissenting. Majority opinion runs to 294 pages. #fairmaps 2/
Court says it has not yet decided whether to give the North Carolina legislature the opportunity to attempt to redraw congressional map, but says that if the NC lege wants to redraw map it needs to finish process by 9/17 at 5 p.m. #fairmaps 3/
Court also (for now at least) has left open the possibility that a redrawn congressional map might be used in this year's election - noting state's abolition of primary elections for certain other partisan offices. #fairmaps 4/
There almost certainly will be request by the legislative defendants to stay decision - first to the district court & then to SCOTUS. Ordinarily, it seems reasonable to think SCOTUS would stay - but it takes 5 votes to stay & it's not clear that there are 5 votes. #fairmaps 5/
So, in short, a possible *wow* effect from Justice Kennedy's retirement - at insofar as an emergency stay request goes (could be nine justices by the time the case gets argued in late winter/early spring). #fairmaps 6/
But in any event, partisan gerrymandering is returning to SCOTUS. And it’s hard to think of a better case factually for the court to revisit the question. #fairmaps 7/
Lawmakers in North Carolina said on the record that they were doing a partisan gerrymander (to replace an earlier racial gerrymander) and wrote in rules that required congressional districts be split 10-3 to favor Republicans. #fairmaps 8/
Likewise, unlike the earlier WI partisan gerrymandering case, the NC case includes the NC Democratic Party as a plaintiff - and political party claims may be easier for the court to grapple with than individual voter claims. #fairmaps 9/
As we found in a study earlier this year, North Carolina's current congressional map (adopted in 2016) is only slightly less biased than the original 2011 map that SCOTUS struck down as a racial gerrymander. #fairmaps #ncpol 10/…
That stands in sharp contrast to maps in VA (struck down for racial gerrymandering) and PA (struck down as a partisan gerrymandering), which both were redrawn to be much more responsive to voter swings. Here's a comparison of the old & new VA maps 👇 #fairmaps #ncpol 11/
PA's 2011 congressional map, likewise, locked in a 13-5 advantage for Republicans (in a state that is otherwise 50/50). The replacement map, by contrast, is highly responsive - giving both Ds and Rs a chance to win between 7 to 11 seats. #fairmaps #ncpol 12/
So what happens next? Two things. First, by the end of the week (and maybe as soon as Tuesday), expect the legislative defendants to appeal to SCOTUS and ask for a stay pending appeal. As noted earlier, the request will go first to the district court. #fairmaps #ncpol 13/
Expect the district court to deny the request (it's comparatively rare for a district court to stay its own order, but the rules require asking first). Then the legislative defendants will go to SCOTUS for a stay. #fairmaps #ncpol 14/
That request will go to Chief Justice Roberts, who is assigned stay requests from the 4th Circuit (where NC is). He could decide the request on his own, but, by custom, will request a response and refer the matter to the whole court. #fairmaps #ncpol 15/
That means that nothing is likely to happen on a stay request until the end of next week at the earliest. It takes 5 votes to grant a stay. If there aren't 5 votes, the district court's decision remains in effect pending appeal. #fairmaps #ncpol 16/
The district court has directed the parties to file briefs by this Friday, 8/31, on three matters: (1) whether the 2018 election should take place using the current map. (2) whether the NC lege should be allowed to redraw the map, and . . . #fairmaps #ncpol 17/
(3) whether any of the thousands of districting plans in the record, including those drawn by the plaintiffs' expert Jowei Chen, could serve as the remedial (replacement) plan. #fairmaps #ncpol 18/
In the mean time, the court suggested that if the NC lege wanted to redraw the congressional map that it get started and said it would not consider any map enacted after 9/17 at 5 p.m. #fairmaps #ncpol 19/
The *second* thing that will happen is that the legislative defendants will start their appeal with SCOTUS. The appeal will involve a couple of rounds of briefing. #fairmaps #ncpol 20/
This process will begin with the legislative defendants filing what is known as a jurisdiction statement with SCOTUS. They have 60 days to do so from when they filed their appeal. Expect them to take all or close to the full time. #fairmaps #ncpol 21/
Once the legislative defendants file their jurisdiction statement, the plaintiffs will have 30 days to file a motion to dismiss or affirm (basically a motion that says we should win without need for oral argument). #fairmaps #ncpol 22/
SCOTUS will then decide whether to hear the case (i.e., set it for argument). It takes 4 votes to decide to hear the case. #fairmaps #ncpol 23/
If the court decides to hear the case, there will be another round of briefing, which will be finished for the court to hear the case in the late winter or early spring - with a decision by June 2019. #fairmaps #ncpol 24/
The one variant to the preceding is that the plaintiffs could ask SCOTUS to expedite the appeal, most likely by dispensing with the second round of briefing. That could see the case argued in January potentially. #fairmaps #ncpol 25/
As far as a decision goes, it takes 5 votes, of course, to reverse. If for some reason there remain only eight justices and the justices split 4-4, the decision of the district court would be affirmed without an opinion.Or . . . #fairmaps #ncpol 26/
The justices could vote to hold the case over until the 2019-20 term in hopes of getting a 9th justice. #fairmaps #ncpol 27/
In any event, interesting and momentous times on the partisan gerrymandering front. #fairmaps #ncpol 28/
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