WASHINGTON — Lawyers for the state of North Carolina will make oral arguments in the Supreme Court next week, seeking to overturn a lower federal court's ruling that two of the state's congressional districts were illegally and intentionally drawn to weaken African-American and minority voting power.
It's expected the high court could hand down a decision in the case next spring or summer. That process, though, could be delayed if the current eight justices opt to have both sides re-argue the case next year, should a ninth justice be confirmed and join the bench.
The Supreme Court's decision in the redistricting case — stemming from a legal challenge to congressional district maps drawn in 2011 by state lawmakers — could have significant political impact, though North Carolina already has redrawn the contested maps and the state used the newly approved districts in this year's election. Earlier this year, a panel of three federal judges forced North Carolina to postpone congressional primaries and re-do the maps.