KU News Service

NC gerrymandering case sets stage for Supreme Court showdown over state redistricting, legal expert says

Thu, 01/11/2018

LAWRENCE — A three-judge panel struck down North Carolina’s congressional map this week, a decision that state Republicans vowed to challenge and could have long-term effects on the redistricting practice known as gerrymandering, election experts say.

The decision may also lend support to two other challenges to gerrymandering currently before the Supreme Court. Mark Johnson, an election law and First Amendment expert at the University of Kansas, said the case — the first in which a federal court has struck down a statewide congressional map because of partisan districting — will have long-lasting legal effects. Johnson, a lecturer in journalism, is available to speak with media about the decision, election law, gerrymandering, possible appeals to the case, similar cases before the Supreme Court and related issues.

“The North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case will go to the Supreme Court, which will have to determine whether states controlled by one political party will continue to see the redistricting process used to perpetuate that party’s control of state and federal elections,” Johnson said.

Johnson is an attorney who teaches election law and First Amendment courses in the KU School of Law and courses on the First Amendment, privacy and ethics at KU’s journalism school. He can also discuss the judges’ ruling that the districts must be redrawn by Jan. 24, what would need to happen to accomplish that and arguments surrounding partisan gerrymandering. Johnson participated in the 2012 Kansas redistricting litigation as counsel for the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce.

To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or

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