The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected two North Carolina congressional district maps, ruling they were unconstitutional because lawmakers relied too heavily on race when they redrew boundaries after the 2010 Census.
The 5-3 ruling was hailed by Democrats and civil rights groups, who said it sends a strong warning to state lawmakers who might attempt to dilute the voting power of minorities by packing them in a small number of congressional districts.
But conservatives said the ruling does little to explain the degree to which race can be taken into account in the redistricting process and muddies the waters on determining whether a decision is based on race and political affiliation.
The ruling affirmed a federal appellate court’s decision that racial considerations were the dominant factor when two congressional districts were redrawn to have majority-black voting-age populations.
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