One term after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the consideration of race in college admissions, and in a new term that already has cases on racial issues in the administration of the death penalty and in jury deliberations, one more race-infused subject will get the justices’ attention: redistricting.
The court will hear appeals on Dec. 5 from special three-judge federal panels that involve race considerations in redistricting in North Carolina and Virginia.
In the North Carolina case, McCrory v. Harris, the justices will consider whether two of the state’s 13 congressional districts, as drawn under a 2011 redistricting plan, represent unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.
In Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections, the court will weigh whether race was an improperly predominant factor in 12 challenged state House of Delegates districts (out of 100 districts in the state legislature’s lower house).
They’re the latest in a long line of redistricting battles to reach the high court, which has less flexibility on whether to hear such challenges than it does in most other areas of the law.