Editorials

GOP should hold applause on Supreme Court’s view of a 2017 special election

State Republican lawmakers, who crafted some woefully partisan districts to ensure their hold on the General Assembly and the congressional delegation would continue, cheered a U.S. Supreme Court order putting a scheduled 2017 special election on hold. GOP leaders saw it as a victory for their redistricting, which a lower federal court ruled was unconstitutional racial gerrymandering (in which African-American voters are packed into some districts, reducing their voting power in others).

And so that lower court ordered the General Assembly run by Republicans to draw new districts by March 15 and to hold off-year elections in districts affected by the new lines. That would be a number, because redrawing one district leads to redrawing others, etc.

The Supreme Court’s action isn’t an affirmation of the mess GOP leaders made. It’s just a hold to let the justices study the issue before they come to conference on Jan. 19. If they decide not to hear the state’s appeal, Republicans would have to get busy with new maps and an election.

So Republican leaders touting the high court’s action as some kind of great victory are fooling themselves and apparently trying to fool the people. And their cheerleading isn’t going to make a difference to the members of the Supreme Court, who will go by the rule of law — which thus far other courts have deemed on the side of those who object to the districts as drawn.

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