north carolina republican leaders may be radicalized to an alarming degree, but they’re also competent enough to achieve their goals. it’s not easy, for example, to take a state where voters are roughly divided evenly between the parties, and then draw the congressional district lines so that republicans hold 10 of the state’s 13 seats, turning roughly 50% of the vote into 77% of the power.that is, however, precisely what gop officials in north carolina did in one of the most ridiculous contemporary examples of gerrymandering in the country. it’s also a map that the u.s. supreme court struck down yesterday as illegal.the full ruling in cooper v. harris is online here. note that the majority included the court’s four center-left jurists – kagan, sotomayor, ginsburg, and breyer – who were unexpectedly joined in this decision by, of all people, clarence thomas. (it was a 5-3 ruling, since gorsuch did not participate. the case was heard before his confirmation.)the key takeaway of a ruling like this is about establishing some boundaries. when state lawmakers draw district lines following a decennial census, they’re legally permitted to consider race as a factor, but as vox’s report explained, “to use race as a predominant factor, the state has to have a compelling interest. for example, a state can say that it needs to, under the federal voting rights act, consi...