PRESS RELEASENorth Carolina General Assembly Senator Ralph Hise
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact: Susan FanningJune 27, 2019
Supreme Court: Judicial Branch Shouldn’t Decide How Many Rs and Ds Are in the Legislature
Raleigh, N.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that redistricting is a firmly legislative and political matter outside the scope of the courts.
Senator Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), who chairs the Senate Committee on Redistricting and Elections, said, “The N.C. Supreme Court has already ruled on considering politics after other criteria, writing that ‘the General Assembly may consider partisan advantage and incumbency protection in the application of discretionary redistricting decisions.’ Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has reached the same conclusion, all legal cases on this matter should end so we can move on.”
Excerpts from the Supreme Court decision
“What the appellees and dissent seek is an unprecedented expansion of judicial power.”
“Provisions in state statutes and state constitutions can provide standards and guidance for state courts to apply.” NOTE: Like the U.S. Constitution, the N.C. Constitution specifically assigns redistricting to the legislature (Art. II, Sec. III). The N.C. Supreme Court has already ruled on the question of politics in redistricting: “The General Assembly may consider partisan advantage and incumbency protection in the application of discretionary redistricting decisions.” (Stephenson v. Bartlett)
“The expansion of judicial authority would not be into just any area of controversy, but into one of the most intensely partisan aspects of American political life. That intervention would be unlimited in scope and duration—it would recur over and over again around the country with each new round of districting, for state as well as federal representatives.”
“We conclude that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts. Federal judges have no license to reallocate political power between the two major political parties…”
“Aware of electoral districting problems, the Framers chose a characteristic approach, assigning the issue to the state legislatures, expressly checked and balanced by the Federal Congress, with no suggestion that the federal courts had a role to play.’”
“To hold that legislators cannot take their partisan interests into account when drawing district lines would essentially countermand the Framers’ decision to entrust districting to political entities.’”
“Vote dilution in the one-person, one-vote cases refers to the idea that each vote must carry equal weight. That requirement does not extend to political parties; it does not mean that each party must be influential in proportion to the number of its supporters.”
“Federal courts are not equipped to apportion political power as a matter of fairness, nor is there any basis for concluding that they were authorized to do so.”
“Any judicial decision on what is ‘fair’ in this context would be an ‘unmoored determination’ of the sort characteristic of a political question beyond the competence of the federal courts.

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