WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is choosing not to take on a new case on partisan redistricting for now. Instead, the justices are sending a dispute over North Carolina’s heavily Republican congressional districting map back to a lower court for more work.
The court’s order Monday follows a ruling last week in which it declared that Wisconsin voters who sued over the state’s GOP-drawn legislative districts had not proven they have the right to bring their case in court. The justices ordered the court in North Carolina to examine the same issue.
On the surface, the North Carolina case doesn’t appear to have the same problem the high court identified in the Wisconsin lawsuit. It could return to the Supreme Court quickly, perhaps in time for the term that begins in October.
The case concerns a congressional districting plan in which 10 seats are held by Republicans and three, by Democrats. State Republican Rep. David Lewis said that he drew 10 districts because he did not “believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.”
In January, a three-judge court found that the map violated the Constitution and ordered the state to come up with a new plan quickly — in time for the 2018 elections. But the Supreme Court delayed enforcement of the court order, mainly because the justices already were considering the partisan districting cases from Maryland and Wisconsin.