U.S. Supreme Court Halts North Carolina's Special Election

January 11, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday put on hold a lower court's ruling requiring North Carolina to immediately redraw state legislative districts found to have been be mapped out in a way that crammed black voters into a limited number of them to dilute their electoral clout.

The high court's brief order also delayed a special election the lower court had said should be held this year.

"On behalf of our clients, we continue to trust that the district court's ruling will be upheld and new districts ultimately will be drawn that are not based on race," said Anita Earls, executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a civil rights group that represents a group of voters who challenged the districts drawn by North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature in 2011.

A three-judge district court panel ruled last August the districts were racial "gerrymanders," with boundaries drawn to diminish the voting power of minorities, and violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.