South Carolina

State website: State House, State Senate
2010-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House  « NEW 
2000-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House, ors.sc.gov/digital/districtmaps.html
Primary governing law: S.C. Const. art. III, §§ 3-6

The Latest

Congress: On July 26, the state legislature passed H 3992, which was signed on August 1, and precleared by the DoJ on October 28; on March 9, 2012, court challenges to the plan were rejected.

State leg.: On June 22, the state legislature passed S 815 (state Senate lines) and H 3991 (state House lines); both bills were signed on June 28, 2011. The state House plan was sent for preclearance to both the DoJ and federal court in Washington, DC, and precleared by the DoJ on October 11. The state Senate plan was also submitted to both the DoJ and federal court., and was precleared on November 14.

  • Institution

    Redistricting political control:

    Governor State Senate State House
    Congressional lines R 19 D, 27 R 48 D, 75 R
    State legislative lines R 19 D, 27 R 48 D, 75 R
    2000 cong. lines D 21 D, 25 R 53 D, 71 R
    2000 state lines D 21 D, 25 R 53 D, 71 R

    South Carolina's congressional and state legislative lines are both drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto. The members of the state House committee with responsibility for redistricting are listed here; the members of the state Senate committee are listed here.


  • Timing

    Census data were delivered to South Carolina on March 23, 2011.

    South Carolina state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional or state legislative lines, though candidates must file for congressional and state legislative primary elections by March 30, 2012. [S.C. Code § 7-11-5] The regular legislative session began on January 11, 2011, and ended June 2, 2011.

    South Carolina does not prohibit redrawing either congressional or state legislative district lines mid-decade, before the next Census. [S.C. Const. art. III, § 3; S.C. Const. art. VII, §13]


  • Public input

    Public hearings were scheduled for March and April 2011, and the public was invited to submit comments and plans, at least to the state Senate, through May 9, 2011. Transcripts and public comments can be found here and here.


  • Criteria

    Like all states, South Carolina must comply with constitutional equal population requirements.

    South Carolina must also, like all states, abide by section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Furthermore, because South Carolina is considered a "covered jurisdiction" under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, it has an obligation to submit redistricting plans to the Department of Justice or to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to ensure that the plans do not discriminate against minority communities.

    In 2011, the South Carolina legislative redistricting committees have issued further guidelines for both congressional and state legislative districts, though the guidelines for each legislative chamber are not precisely parallel. These guidelines may be changed at any time. The guidelines ask that both congressional and state legislative districts be contiguous, and that they, where practical and appropriate, attempt to preserve communities of interest and cores of incumbents' existing districts, and adhere to county, municipal, and voting precinct boundary lines. The guidelines also ask to consider compactness, including geography, demography, communities of interest, and the extent to which there are means for a representative to communicate effectively with constituents. [2011 Redistricting Guidelines (Senate); 2011 Guidelines and Criteria For Congressional and Legislative Redistricting (House)]


  • 2010 cycle cases

    Harrell v. Holder, No. 1:11-CV-01454 (D.D.C.): an action in federal court requesting preclearance of South Carolina's state House districts.
         - Complaint (Aug. 9, 2011).
    The latest: After the plan was precleared on October 11, plaintiffs dismissed the complaint on October 13.

    Harrell v. Holder II, No. 1:11-CV-01566 (D.D.C.): an action in federal court requesting preclearance of South Carolina's congressional districts.
         - Preclearance submission to DoJ.
         - Complaint (Aug. 30, 2011).
    The latest: After the plan was precleared on October 28, plaintiffs dismissed the complaint on October 31.

    McConnell v. United States, No. 1:11-CV-01794 (D.D.C.): an action in federal court requesting preclearance of South Carolina's state Senate districts.
         - Complaint (Oct. 7, 2011).
    The latest: After the plan was precleared on November 14, plaintiffs dismissed the complaint on November 15.

    Backus v. South Carolina, No. 3:11-cv-03120 (D.S.C.), No. 11-1404 & No. 13-1461 (Sup. Ct.): an action in federal court challenging the state legislative and congressional districts, based on alleged unlawful racial gerrymandering and a violation of the Voting Rights Act.
         - Trial court
              - Complaint (Nov. 11, 2011) and amended complaint (Nov. 23).
                   - Intervenors' complaint (Feb. 9), dismissed (Feb. 15).
              - Motions to dismiss filed by State (Dec. 19), Gov. (Dec. 19), Lieut. Gov. (Dec. 28),
                House Speaker, Sen. Pres., Elections Comm'n, House Comms. (Dec. 19).
                   - Opposition (Dec. 28).
                   - Replies by Gov. et al., House members, Sen. Pres. (Jan. 4).
              - Deft.'s motion for summ. judgment (Senate) (Jan. 17), denied as moot (Feb. 15).
                   - Opposition (Feb. 3), reply (Feb. 7).
              - Defendant's motion for summary judgment (House, Congress) (Feb. 13).
              - Plaintiffs' response clarifying claims and districts at issue (Jan. 26).
                   - Opposition (Feb. 7).
              - Final memoranda by plaintiffs, Sen. Pres., House Speaker (Mar. 5).
              - Opinion rejecting challenge (Mar. 9).
         - U.S. Supreme Court
              - Jurisdictional statement (May 18).
              - Motion to dismiss or affirm (July 20), reply (Aug. 10).
              - Summary affirmance (Oct. 1).
         - Trial court
              - Motion for relief from order (Aug. 29, 2013).
                   - Response by State (Sept. 16), Sen. Pres. (Sept. 13), reply (Sept. 26).
                   - Response by House Speaker (Sept. 30), reply (Oct. 10).
                   - Order denying motion for relief (Mar. 10, 2014).
         - U.S. Supreme Court
              - Jurisdictional statement, app. (June 6).
              - Motion to dismiss or affirm (Aug. 8).
              - Reply (Aug. 27).

    The latest: The complaint was filed on November 11, and an amended complaint was filed on November 23; several motions to dismiss were filed on December 19. On January 19, the court dismissed the State, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and legislative committee chairs from the case, but denied motions to dismiss by the Elections Commission, House Speaker, and Senate President. On March 9, the court rejected the remaining claims, and dismissed the case. On October 1, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court summarily affirmed. On August 29, 2013, plaintiffs moved for relief from the dismissal in light of Shelby County v. Holder; that motion was denied by the trial court on Mar. 10, 2014, and the decision is now on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.


  • 2000 cycle

    In the 2000 redistricting cycle, South Carolina's legislature passed a statute with both congressional and state legislative lines, which was vetoed on August 30, 2001. When the legislature failed to pass a subsequent plan, a federal court took control of the process, and drew both congressional and state legislative districts on March 20, 2002. [Colleton County Council v. McConnell, 201 F. Supp. 2d 618 (D.S.C. 2002)]

    The legislature then redrew the state legislative lines, through a plan that was signed on June 2, 2003, and precleared shortly thereafter.

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