From today’s New York Times:
Last year, Democratic justices on the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that maps of the state’s legislative and congressional districts drawn to give Republicans lopsided majorities were illegal gerrymanders. On Friday, the same court led by a newly elected Republican majority looked at the same facts, reversed itself and said it had no authority to act.
The practical effect is to enable the Republican-controlled General Assembly to scrap the court-ordered State House, Senate and congressional district boundaries that were used in elections last November, and draw new maps skewed in Republicans’ favor for elections in 2024. The 5-to-2 ruling fell along party lines, reflecting the takeover of the court by Republican justices in partisan elections last November.
The decision has major implications not just for the state legislature, where the G.O.P. is barely clinging to the supermajority status that makes its decisions veto-proof, but for the U.S. House, where a new North Carolina map could add at least three Republican seats in 2024 to what is now a razor-thin Republican majority. Overturning such a recent ruling by the court was a highly unusual move, particularly on a pivotal constitutional issue in which none of the facts had changed.
The North Carolina case mirrors a national trend in which states that elect their judges — Ohio, Kentucky, Kansas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and others — have seen races for their high court seats turned into multimillion-dollar political battles, and their justices’ rulings viewed through a deeply partisan lens.
Read the complete story here.