Nancy Mays seat: Court rules South Carolina can use map previously declared unconstitutional

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South Carolina Representative Nancy Mays is seen at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on January 18, 2024.



CNN

A federal court on Thursday said it will allow South Carolina's U.S. House election for Republican representative. Nancy MaysThe seat of shall continue under the drawing therein It was earlier declared unconstitutional.

In a brief order, the justices in the case said they had no choice, given a fast-approaching deadline to prepare for the state's primary election for down-ballot contests.

Last year, a three-judge panel said the state's GOP-controlled Legislature “expelled” more than 30,000 black residents from the coastal 1st Congressional District anchored in Charleston County, which the court called “white.” Republicans. The judges said this amounted to unconstitutional racism.

South Carolina officials appealed to the United States Supreme Court, and The judges heard arguments in the case In October. At the time, a majority of conservative justices seemed skeptical of arguments that state lawmakers engaged in impermissible racism in drawing district lines.

But the High Court has not yet issued any opinion in this case. Courts have allowed gerrymandering on partisan grounds in the past, but racial gerrymandering has been deemed illegal.

The state faces a deadline to prepare and mail absentee ballots to foreign and military voters. June 11 primaryOrdering a new map was “manifestly impractical,” the justices said in Thursday's order.

They said they recognized that it was unusual to allow an election to be held under a map they deemed invalid. “But with primary election procedures fast approaching, an appeal in the Supreme Court still pending, and no settlement plan,” the judges said, “idealism must bend to practice.”

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Mays faces a Republican challenger in his bid for a third term. Among the challengers are former state cabinet official Catherine Templeton and Daniel Hanlon, Mays' one-time chief of staff, who have filed to run.

Mays received the former's approval earlier this month President Donald Trump, who called her a “strong conservative voice.” Mays, once a Trump critic, has become an outspoken ally of the former president.

State Republicans turned what had been a contested district into a safe one for their party in 2022. Trump would have carried the 1st District by 9 points in 2020 under its current lines.

Mays won re-election in 2022 by 14 points, after winning the seat under the previous map by one point two years ago.

CNN's Kate Sullivan and Andrew Menez contributed to this report.

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