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If the state Supreme Court of North Carolina rules in favor of the Republicans, they might gain four additional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. A challenge to the state’s congressional district boundaries will be heard by the state’s highest court; the result may be highly favorable to the Republican Party.
The new plan, which was put in place after the state Supreme Court invalidated a map approved by the legislature, may result in the Republicans gaining up to four House seats in 2024. After last fall’s elections, the state Supreme Court now has a conservative majority, and the court has decided to review its previous ruling.
The 14 House seats in North Carolina are presently split equally between Republicans and Democrats, but the previously implemented map, which the court invalidated, would have given the GOP as many as 11 seats. One analyst told Reuters that rather than creating a brand-new map, the previous one will likely be resurrected.
The Cook Political Report’s early forecasts for the 2024 House contests give the Republicans a lead, with the expected implementation of new Republican-friendly maps in North Carolina and Ohio contributing to the early projection. Despite losing in most crucial elections, Republicans presently maintain a slim 221-212 majority in the House of Representatives after regaining control of the house in 2022.
Republicans on the court also agreed to rehear a case in which a statute requiring a picture ID to vote had been opposed by the court’s previous Democratic majority.
More than a dozen Republican-favored designs were overturned by Ohio’s state Supreme Court in 4-3 decisions last year on the grounds that they violated a constitutional clause banning the favoring of one party over another in redistricting.
However, most observers believe the court’s new majority is much less likely to obstruct when the Republican-controlled redistricting commission redraws maps later this year after the retirement of the court’s chief justice, Maureen O’Connor, the swing vote for those decisions, and the election of Republicans for both open seats.
The state constitution forbade gerrymandering, the method by which one party manipulates redistricting to consolidate power, according to the court’s Democratic majority last year. In one of the most significant instances of the year, North Carolina Republican lawmakers appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In Moore v. Harper, the Republican lawmakers are urging the Supreme Court of the United States to accept a once-controversial legal doctrine that would prevent courts from exercising any control over the authority of legislatures to create election laws and plan out electoral districts. The so-called autonomous state legislative notion has been criticized by Democrats and civil rights activists as allowing for anti-democratic legislation.
The North Carolina Supreme Court, whose earlier ruling led to the U.S. Supreme Court case, now has the option of embracing the theory regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court determines in the end.