NC gerrymandering

GOP uses a Lottery machine(?!) to choose district maps

And once again the circus comes to town:

The North Carolina Senate used a state lottery machine Tuesday to pick base maps to work off of for its court-ordered redistricting. The unprecedented scene came after legislative staffers winnowed down a pack of 1,000 potential maps, drawn by a computer algorithm, to a handful of top contenders based on specific criteria.

Legislative staff spent much the day pulling the five maps that scored the best on a combination of compactness, fewest precincts split and fewest municipal boundaries split for each of seven clusters of counties that must be re-drawn, including one that includes the Senate district in Wake and Franklin counties.

Before they go any further with this dubious approach, somebody needs to confer with the judges about not only this Lottery thing, but also the use of the 1,000 generated maps they're using as a base "pool" or whatever. They might also want to mention to said judges House Republicans are going behind closed doors to scheme:

Republicans try to defend the indefensible on gerrymandering

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Denial is a river in Egypt:

Bell's testimony came Wednesday morning in the eighth day of a trial over the legislative voting district maps the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved two years ago. Common Cause North Carolina alleges that the maps are were drawn illegally into gerrymandered districts that favor GOP candidates.

Trying to maximize GOP seats in the House would dilute Republican strength in many districts and would wind up costing the party seats, he said. That, would cause a revolt in the House Republican caucus, which on the best of days is like trying to manage a wheelbarrow full of frogs, he said.

That little theory comes apart when you look at what actually happened: Republicans gained majorities in both houses after the 2010 (national) GOP Legislative wave, but they didn't achieve their Supermajority until after the maps were gerrymandered. And the Blue Wave of 2018, which flipped control of the U.S. House to a strong Democratic majority, still could not overcome those gerrymandered NC Legislative districts. So you can stick that "it wouldn't make sense for us to do it" argument where the sun don't shine, because we know you did it. And this makes even less sense:

Once again, SCOTUS rules against democracy

This ^ right here. It takes power to fix problems, power we don't have. The 2020 Legislative races just became critical, even moreso than the Presidential race.

NC Republicans lied in court to delay fixing their Gerrymandered maps

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Their skeletons are busting out of the closet:

The Republicans told the federal court hearing the map case that they would not be able to draw new legislative districts and hold public hearings on them in time for a proposed special election in late 2017 or early 2018. In fact, Common Cause said, Mr. Hofeller’s files show that almost all the work was already done: proposed new boundaries had been drawn for more than 97 percent of the state’s proposed Senate districts and 90 percent of House districts.

A senior Republican legislator who was involved in the redistricting, Representative David R. Lewis, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Yeah, I bet he didn't. This also partly explains why the NC GOP has been pushing so hard to get those hard drives out of circulation:

Proposed GOP gerrymander of Winston-Salem is a whitewash

Triple-bunking three African-American female Councilors:

A bill introduced Thursday by Forsyth County Republican legislators would force three black Democratic women on the Winston-Salem City Council into one district. D.D. Adams, one of the three, emphatically denounced lawmakers for what she described as a racist payback for the Democratic activism of black women.

"Everybody thinks we are going to hold hands and sing Kumbaya — it's not going to happen that way," Adams said a day after learning of the bill. "This is one of those times when we are going to have to fight. Everyone knows African-American women are going to vote and will vote Democratic." Adams said her message to lawmakers was, "How dare you? How dare you?"

And unless I'm sorely mistaken, this being labeled as a "Local" bill removes Governor Cooper's Veto powers from the formula. A simple majority would force this down Winston-Salem's throat, and also punish Dan Besse, who gave one of the sponsors of this bill a run for his money back in November:

Allison Riggs makes strong showing at Supreme Court

And she didn't take any crap from Brett Kavanaugh:

Justice Neil Gorsuch seemed to agree that the problem of partisan gerrymandering is one that should be left for the political branches of government to deal with. Justice Brett Kavanaugh echoed this concern. He told Allison Riggs, who argued for a second group of challengers in the North Carolina case, that he understood “some of your argument to be that extreme partisan gerrymandering is a problem for democracy.” Referring to activity in the states and in Congress to combat partisan gerrymandering, Kavanaugh asked whether we have reached a moment when the other actors can do it.

Riggs responded that North Carolina, at least, is not at that moment. When Kavanaugh responded, “I’m thinking more nationally,” Riggs shot back that “other options don’t relieve this Court of its duty to vindicate constitutional rights.”

And of course she's right. What Kavanaugh doesn't grasp (or is ignoring) is the fact that some of those states allow popular movements to amend their constitutions without prior approval by the Legislative body. Like they did in Michigan, where proponents had to collect enough signatures to get independent redistricting on the November ballot. North Carolina doesn't allow for that, making Kavanaugh's argument both inappropriate and irrelevant. Also inappropriate:

NC A&T a case study in partisan gerrymandering

Divided and conquered without an opportunity to protest:

In adopting the electoral map, the legislature partitioned the campus of North Carolina A&T State University, the nation's largest historically black public college, into two separate districts.

"We had one person representing us who shared our beliefs. Now we have two people who don't really represent us," said Smith, 24, a 2017 graduate who works with voting-rights group Common Cause, which is among the plaintiffs challenging the new districts.

This particular move may be the partisan straw that broke the mapmaker's back. It should be, anyway. Not even the worst justices (Thomas and Kavanaugh) on our conservative Supreme Court could swallow the idea splitting NC A&T in half was merely a coincidence, or that students are better off with two Representatives instead of one. Their votes were "cracked," to use the parlance of the mapmakers themselves, and there is no viable defense of that. And this argument might be even worse:

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