“Supreme Court’s Delay Creates Uncertainty for South Carolina Election”

Jimmy Hoover for National Law Journal:

New candidates are throwing their hats in the ring in Republican Rep. Nancy Mace’s South Carolina congressional district despite a court ruling last year striking down the GOP drawn map as an unconstitutional “racial gerrymander.” 

Both GOP state lawmakers defending the state’s newly drawn First Congressional District and challengers from the South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP had hoped the U.S. Supreme Court—which heard arguments in October—would have completed its review of that decision by Jan. 1.

As it stands, key primary deadlines are fast approaching without word from the high court on whether new district lines drawn after the 2020 census are valid.

“I know that originally there was talk of trying to get it out early before the primaries, but the court doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry with anything this term,” said Rick Hasen, an election law professor at UCLA Law.

At stake in the case is whether Republicans can hold on to a 1.36 point partisan advantage from the new map or whether the state General Assembly will have to go back to the drawing board to satisfy the demands of a federal district court panel that struck down the map as unconstitutional. The panel found the new map illegally moved Black voters into a nearby district to maintain a low Black voting age population.

The panel has said it would allow the Supreme Court to complete its review, expressed hope a remedial plan could be adopted before the coming elections and entertained pushing back any elections until an alternative map is put in place.

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