The panel's decision, which they stated was to spare the state voters from further enduring the current "unconstitutional reapportionment scheme," was celebrated by state Democrats. However the party was not pleased with the court's decision to delegate the actual redrawing of district lines to the Republican-led state legislature, who drew the current lines.
Voting rights and gerrymandering have become increasingly important issues over the past year. Earlier this week the US Supreme Court blocked [JURIST report] a ruling ordering the redrawing of the congressional district map and special elections to be held in North Carolina. This came after the Supreme Court heard arguments [JURIST report] in racial gerrymandering cases from Virginia and North Carolina in December. In September several organizations filed a federal lawsuit challenging Georgia's voter registration system [JURIST report]. In April the Supreme Court unanimously upheld [JURIST report] an Arizona commission's decisions regarding the redistricting of voting districts in the state.