Why Redistricting Is Still Happening in 2023 — And Where

  • US Supreme Court is the place to watch for some states
  • North Carolina legislature to draw new GOP-skewed map

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It’s now certain that some of the congressional districts that produced the current Republican-majority House will be erased and redrawn before the 2024 election. The only unknown is how many states may be affected.

With a 222-213 majority, the GOP can look forward to getting a few more Republican-tilted districts in North Carolina. The US Supreme Court and a couple state courts could change the political landscape even more.

Here’s some of the states to watch.

North Carolina Will Get Redder

Current delegation: 7 Republicans, 7 Democrats
North Carolina’s Supreme Court gave its Republican legislature a green light to implement more GOP-friendly lines when it reversed a months-old ruling against partisan gerrymandering.

Now that lawmakers can, they will.

“We will fulfill our constitutional duty to redraw state house, senate and congressional maps,” state House Speaker Tim Moore (R) said.

The lawmakers now representing the state in Congress were elected under an interim map adopted by a lower state court. The legislature showed its preferences earlier in the process, and if the new version is similar, the state’s 14 districts could send as many as 11 Republicans to Washington and oust as many as four Democrats.

Still to be seen: whether the North Carolina Supreme Court’s reversal will moot the Moore v. Harper case that seeks to limit state court authority to review congressional maps and federal election rules. The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments last December, before the new state court ruling.

See also: Redistricting Isn’t Over And That Will Matter for House Control

New York Awaits State Court Verdict

Currently: 15 Democrats, 11 Republicans
Democrats are asking New York courts to compel the state’s independent redistricting commission to submit a new congressional map for the Democratic-controlled state legislature to consider. The legislature’s preferred map was invalidated as unconstitutional gerrymandering.

The map eventually used in the 2022 election was drawn by a special master and adopted by a New York court. Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in 21 of the 26 districts under that map, though Republicans won six pro-Biden districts as Democratic candidates underperformed.

See also:
New York ‘Center of Gravity’ in 2024 Campaign For House Control
New York’s Redistricting Saga Continues After Midterm Losses

Some States Waiting on SCOTUS

Alabama — Currently: 6 Republicans, 1 Democrat
The US Supreme Court will soon weigh in on an Alabama redistricting case, Merrill v. Milligan. The case was brought under the Voting Rights Act’s Section 2, which bans discriminatory voting practices and procedures including redistricting plans that intentionally dilute the power of racial and ethnic minorities.

The state’s Republican-drawn map included only one district with a Black majority. Democrats say Alabama merits a second heavily Black district under the VRA.

Ohio — Currently: 10 Republicans, 5 Democrats
Ohio’s Republican legislature is under a state Supreme Court order to draw new lines for the 2024 election, but the US Supreme Court is reviewing an appeal.

The Ohio Supreme Court became more conservative after the November election with the retirement of former Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, a Republican who sided with the court’s three Democrats in a series of 4–3 rulings against GOP maps.

Democrats held their own under the 2022 map by unseating Rep. Steve Chabot (R), re-electing Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D) in a Republican-leaning district, and winning a competitive open district in the Akron area. But they say there should be more than five Democratic seats in Ohio, which has a mild Republican lean.

South Carolina — Currently: 6 Republicans, 1 Democrat
A three-judge federal panel in January invalidated the Charleston-area 1st District as a racial gerrymander and ordered the Republican legislature to submit a remedial map to the court. Republicans appealed the decision to the US Supreme Court, saying the redraw was motivated by politics and not race.

A reconfigured 1st District could be more politically competitive but may still favor Rep. Nancy Mace (R), who was re-elected by 14 percentage points in 2022.

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Wisconsin Litigation Inevitable

Currently: 6 Republicans, 2 Democrats
Lawsuits challenging the state’s legislative and congressional district lines “will most definitely” be filed, Wisconsin Common Cause Executive Director Jay Heck said after progressives won majority control of the state Supreme Court in an election last month. Justice-elect Janet Protasiewicz, who was backed by Democratic groups, will take her seat on the court Aug. 1.

In March 2022, the court adopted a map from Gov. Tony Evers (D) that made minimal tweaks to the congressional lines Wisconsin used in the 2010s, though Evers made clear he opposed the court’s “least change” mandate and would have preferred a different map than the one he submitted.

Wisconsin often holds close statewide elections, though Democrats win inefficient super-majorities in two districts centered on Madison and Milwaukee. Republicans last November increased their advantage in the House delegation to 6-2 from 5-3 after winning from Democratic control a western district that voted narrowly for Evers and for Sen. Ron Johnson (R).

See also: Democrats Savor Wisconsin Win to Blunt GOP on Abortion, Vote Map

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Giroux in Washington at ggiroux@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: George Cahlink at gcahlink@bloombergindustry.com; Katherine Rizzo at krizzo@bgov.com

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