Aided by a newly Republican-dominated state Supreme Court, the North Carolina state legislature passed a new congressional map that will give the Republicans three new seats in the House, maybe even more. Now New York Democrats want to beat the Republicans at their own game. On Wednesday, the New York Court of Appeals will hold a hearing on whether the legislature is allowed to do a midterm redistricting. Democrats have a majority on the Court and the Democratic legislators are hoping for a green light. If they get it, they are going to go to town and draw a map that will flip seats from Long Island to Syracuse. Should this come to pass, they might be able to flip as many as six seats, making up for North Carolina and then some.
Only once in recent history before North Carolina did it has redistricting been done mid-decade. In early 2000, Democrats controlled the Texas state House and Republicans controlled the state Senate. They couldn't agree on a map, so the courts drew one. It had 17 Democratic and 15 Republican districts. After the Republicans captured the state House in Nov. 2000, then-U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R) said: "I want more seats." Texas Republicans obliged him and drew a new map mid-decade. That opened the floodgates. Now North Carolina did it and New York wants to counteract that by doing it as well. Alabama is being forced to do it by the courts and Louisiana and Florida may be forced as well. It is up in the air in Ohio.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that while racial gerrymanders violate the Voting Rights Act, partisan ones are fine and dandy, so the North Carolina and New York ones are unlikely to be ruled unconstitutional. If North Carolina nets the GOP three seats and New York nets the Democrats six seats, and nothing else changes, the Republicans will hold a 218-217 majority in 2025. But if Democrats pick up a second seat in Alabama on account of a racial gerrymander, then the Democrats would have a 218-217 majority. Talk about a game of inches. But a lot depends on how the hearing goes on Wednesday. (V)