Ralph Hise and David Lewis in The Atlantic:
“I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats, because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats,” one of us said in 2016, as the North Carolina legislature drew new congressional maps.
It’s a made-for-headlines statement, an apparent gaffe that reveals what everybody knows but nobody says. And on Tuesday, as the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in the landmark partisan gerrymandering case Rucho v. Common Cause, it will likely take center stage again.
That statement, though, was not a gaffe. It was a hyperbolic but necessary retort to ongoing litigation and the shifting goalposts imposed by a federal court.
You don’t need to agree with the statement, and you don’t need to support partisan considerations in redistricting. That’s not our intent in writing this. But you should understand the full story, because reaching conclusions based on one spoken sentence is rarely justified and never prudent.