In February 2016, a federal trial court ordered the North Carolina General Assembly to draw new Congressional districts for the state to remedy a map that the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders . In doing so, the Legislature crafted a new set of districts that they explicitly designed as partisan gerrymanders .
Plaintiffs brought two cases in federal court challenging the newly implemented congressional districts – League of Women Voters of North Carolina v. Rucho and Common Cause v. Rucho . Those cases were consolidated and argued in North Carolina’s Middle District Federal Court in October 2017.
The three-judge panel found the redistricting plan was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander in January 2018. When that decision was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, it was remanded back to the district court to determine issues of standing in light of another U.S. Supreme Court order in a partisan gerrymandering case out of Wisconsin, Gill v. Whitford . Upon reconsideration, the federal district court again found the state’s congressional map, and several of its individual districts, unconstitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
On March 26, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the North Carolina cases, as well as a case out of Maryland, Lamone v. Benisek .