Two federal court decisions significantly change NC politics.
A federal appeals court in 2016 struck down North Carolina Republicans’ voter-id law, charging that it “targeted African Americans with almost surgical precision.” If the court had ruled the law constitutional, Republican Pat McCrory would probably have remained governor. He lost by 5,000 votes to Democrat Roy Cooper. The US Supreme Court in 2017 affirmed the lower court ruling.
Likewise, a federal three-judge panel in early 2018 struck down a Republican gerrymandering scheme of congressional districts as overly partisan and that it deliberately under-represented Democratic voters. But a week later, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the ruling, agreeing with Republicans that to change district lines so late in the 2018 election process would cause too much chaos and confusion. With this SC ruling, North Carolina’s extreme gerrymandering could save the Republicans’ House majority in 2018.
If the Supreme Court had not granted a delay to the NC GOP state legislature to revise congressional district lines until after the 2018 elections, Democrats would likely have more representatives in Congress in 2019, perhaps even retake the majority.