Will the North Carolina Supreme Court uphold newly drawn election maps for legislative and congressional races? Or, will the 4-3 Democrat court majority strike them down, even though a lower court panel – a bipartisan panel of 2 Republicans and 1 Democrat – gave them a thumbs up?

That’s the nut of the issue heard Wednesday by the high court, as Carolina Journal reports. A decision is pending.

North Carolina’s legislative and congressional election maps now sit in the hands of the N.C. Supreme Court, after 90 minutes of oral arguments for and against the maps Wednesday morning.

Critics contend the Republican-led General Assembly drew maps to dilute Democrats’ voting power.

“In a partisan gerrymander, the leaders already in power manipulate district lines to subvert the will of the people,” argued Stanton Jones, an attorney representing one of three sets of plaintiffs challenging the maps. “The intent and effect is to predetermine the outcome of elections and entrench the majority party in power regardless of how the people vote.”

Chief Justice Paul Newby, a Republican, repeatedly questioned the plaintiffs’ lawyers about how the court should address their concerns.

At the link below, you can watch Justice Newby question an attorney about the state constitution.