Excerpted from: Robert A. Rucho, et al., Appellants v. Common Cause, et al.; and Linda H. Lamone, et al., Appellants v. O. John Benisek, et al., Nos. 18–422 and 18–726 (June 27, 2019) Supreme Court of the United States (Footnotes) (Full Document)
Voters and others in North Carolina and Maryland challenged their states’ congressional districting maps as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. In first case, remedial congressional redistricting plan enacted by North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature was alleged to violate Equal Protection Clause, Elections Clause, First Amendment, and Article I, and, following trial, a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, Wynn, Circuit Judge, 279 F.Supp.3d 587, issued order finding that plan was unconstitutional, enjoined state from conducting further elections using plan, and required drawing of new maps, and subsequently denied legislators' motion to stay court's order pending appeal to the Supreme Court, 284 F.Supp.3d 780. On direct appeal, the Supreme Court, 138 S.Ct. 2679, vacated the judgment and remanded for further consideration. On remand, the District Court, Wynn, Circuit Judge, 318 F.Supp.3d 777, again struck down plan, and direct appeal was taken. In second case, congressional redistricting map enacted by Maryland's Democrat-controlled legislature was alleged to violate First Amendment. On parties' cross-motions for summary judgment, a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Niemeyer, Circuit Judge, 348 F.Supp.3d 493, granted voters' motion, and direct appeal was taken. The Supreme Court postponed its consideration of jurisdiction in both cases.
[Holding:] The Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roberts, held that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.
Vacated and remanded with instructions.
Justice Kagan filed a dissenting opinion in which Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor joined.
Procedural Posture(s): On Appeal; Motion for Summary Judgment.