High Court Ruling On NC Voting Districts May Affect Georgia

Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press

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Georgia may feel the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overruling voting districts in North Carolina.

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State lawmakers there claimed they drew the districts for political advantage. But the high court decided they used race as a main factor, and that was unconstitutional.

Michael Kang, a law professor at Emory University, said the decision could have a big impact in Southern states, like Georgia, where party preference tends to fall along racial lines.

“I think states felt like as long as they could point to partisan reasons to explain what they were doing, they could defend it in court,” Kang said. “And that seems a little bit less true, a little bit less certain after [Monday’s] ruling.”

Kang said, while the Supreme Court decision doesn’t rule out the partisan defense, now states may have less discretion in redesigning districts. And voting rights claims will likely have more strength in the courts.

Just last month, civil rights groups filed a lawsuit challenging Georgia house districts drawn in 2015.