If any more evidence be needed to demonstrate the utter absurdity of it all, look no further than the North Carolina redistricting process, where greed, shortsightedness and straight-up ineptitude have converged to loosen a key linchpin in American government.
It’s the gerrymandered districts, of course, designed to lock down one-party rule and overturned three times now by federal three-judge panels.
This means that we may need to redraw our illegal congressional districts before the November election, which would be a guaranteed clusterchuck. But there’s little possibility of this happening, because NC Republicans can take this new decision to the Supreme Court — the same Supreme Court they appealed this same decision before back in January.
Back then, the Supremes declined to hear the case — the august body has never definitively ruled on partisan gerrymandering, preferring instead to parse language and skittle around the edges of the practice.
This is the part where it gets good.
It’s a different Supreme Court that the one that ruled in January: Justice Kennedy resigned, and his replacement — Trump’s guy Brett Kavanaugh — might tip the scales in the Republican’s favor… only he hasn’t been confirmed yet because everybody is waiting to find out if the guy who nominated him actually won the election, or if he’s a Russian asset, or if he broke campaign-finance law, or if he’s actively obstructing justice or whatever.
If Trump can’t get Kavanaugh cleared before the hearing, the divided court will either once again decline to hear the case, or likely end up in a 4-4 split, in which case the decision by the three-judge panel stands.
But what happens then?
We either have the special master draw new districts, hold a primary in November and then a special election as a stand in for the general in… when? December? Or we use the new districts, sort out all the double-bunking issues that might arise and have the two parties internally nominate candidates for the open seats. Or we use the old districts, which we know are illegal, just one more time.
And hey: Don’t forget that the balance of power in Congress is on the line in a year when there’s talk of impeachment.
It’s really quite incredible.
If the NC Republicans’ goal was to wedge a plug in the wheels of our republic and grind it to a halt, then they have succeeded beyond doubt.
Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.
We believe that reporting can save the world.
The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.
All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.