Good news everyone!

A divided North Carolina Supreme Court struck down the state’s new maps for congressional and General Assembly seats Friday, declaring that state courts had authority to throw out lines engineered to secure a long-term Republican advantage in an otherwise closely divided state.

By a 4–3 decision — with the justices who are registered Democrats making up the majority — the state’s highest court directed the GOP-controlled legislature to redraw the plans by Feb. 18 and provide an explanation of how they calculated the partisan fairness of the new boundaries. Any replacement maps would still be used for the May 17 primaries.

The court’s decision reversed a ruling last month from a panel of three trial judges that let the maps stand, and declared partisan gerrymandering found in the redistricting approved by the legislature in November violated several provisions in the North Carolina Constitution. They include the right to free elections, freedom of speech and equal protections of citizens.

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