Firm Represents Common Cause and Others in North Carolina Win Opposing Unconstitutional Partisan Gerrymandering

January 10, 2018

On January 9, 2018, a panel of judges in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina ruled for the first time in U.S. history that a state’s congressional map is an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. The ruling is a result of two separate cases that were consolidated in February 2017: Common Cause et al. v. Rucho et al., filed August 2016, and League of Women Voters of North Carolina et al. v. Rucho et al., filed September 2016.

Patterson Belknap represented Common Cause, the North Carolina Democratic Party, and 14 North Carolina voters in the lawsuit, which included four separate counts against North Carolina’s 2016 Congressional Redistricting Plan as a whole and each of its 13 congressional districts. The counts cited the gerrymander as a violation of the First Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and Article I, sections 2 and 4 of the Constitution relating to the manner in which Representatives are popularly elected.

In a 191-page opinion, Judge James A. Wynn Jr. concluded that the “2016 Plan violates the Equal Protection Clause, the First Amendment, and Article I of the Constitution.” The court “enjoin[ed] Defendants from conducting any further elections using the 2016 Plan,” and announced that “the General Assembly will have until 5 p.m. on January 24, 2018, to enact a remedial districting plan.”

To read The New York Times’ coverage of the decision, click here.

To read additional press on the decision, click here.

To read the court’s decision, click here.