Ever the bullshit artist, Phil Berger defended his party’s latest cartographic travesty with a rant. It was a long, partisan diatribe, replete with misrepresentations and given in totally bad faith. In its disingenuousness, the Senator’s piece reflected the spirit in which his party draws districts. They clearly will not craft them with the public in mind, and that is why the courts need to do it themselves.
I am not a lawyer, so I’m in no position to question the jurisprudence. But it’s peculiar that unconstitutionally installed legislators get to draw their own maps. Even more so when they have repeatedly come back with invalid proposals, and had those rejected in turn. There is now a long record showing that NCGA mapmakers have little regard for the VRA. They cannot be trusted.
Furthermore, redistricting has become a critically important. No longer is gerrymandering a mild irritant. Partisans have at their fingertips technology that can rig elections. The stakes are too high for judges to sit back and watch as Southern conservatives once again hammer the political rights of blacks–and other citizens.
From a political perspective, I understand why the courts are reticent. Vice the NCGOP, the separation of powers makes a difference. And it should be preserved to the greatest extent possible. There comes a point, however, when one’s responsibility to democracy outweighs other considerations. Within the boundaries of the law, our courts should assume control of the redistricting process and draw fair maps.
Republicans have had their chance. We’ve gone back and forth on this for close to a decade. It is clear that fair maps are not forthcoming. After this long sequence of political groundhog days, it’s time for someone else to step in and give us the districts we deserve. It’s time for the courts to draw them.