North Carolina Files Reply Brief for Stay in Partisan Gerrymandering Case; Supreme Court Can Issue Ruling at Any Time

 Paul Clement’s reply brief for North Carolina.

Here’s what I wrote last week about the stay request’s chances:

Meanwhile, Paul Clement just filed a stay motion in the North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case, where the lower court had just ordered the creation of new, less partisan districts under a very short timetable. I expect that the Court will order a response [UPDATE: The Court has requested a response by Wednesday], and there’s a good chance this stay is granted. But in the ordinary course the Court would not get briefing in time to agree to hear the case this term. Most likely is that it will get a petition before the end of the term, and then remand in light of the Wisconsin and Maryland cases. But the Court could grant the appeal, which was already filed as well on an expedited basis, and set this one too for argument.

The benefit of hearing the North Carolina case separately is that it presents the cleanest case for a finding of partisan gerrymandering, given that the state admitted it.  As I recently explained:

The result is not a big surprise given what North Carolina did here. After its earlier redistricting was declared a racial gerrymander, it came up with a new plan using only political data that it described as a partisan gerrymander on its own terms. It did this as a defense against a future racial gerrymandering claim. As the court explained at page 16, NC “Representative Lewis said that he “propose[d] that [the Committee] draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats because [he] d[id] not believe it[ would be] possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and 2 Democrats.”  If there’s any case that could be a partisan gerrymander, it’s this one.

What Justice Kennedy must know is that future gerrymandering will look like NC, if the Court does not act in Wisconsin or Maryland.

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