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Sometimes it takes a while but the chickens always come home to roost and, more often than not, they come home at the worst possible time.

Six years ago, when Republican legislators drew the new state House and Senate districts, they had a simple theory: They believed the Voting Rights Act required them to create as many Minority-Majority districts as possible. That was a legal theory but it also had a practical side: Packing districts with African American voters meant packing districts with Democratic voters and that meant the rest of the districts would be more Republican. Which worked out fine: Republicans won veto proof majorities in the House and Senate in three straight elections.

Fighting back, Democrats filed a plethora of lawsuits but the mills of justice grind slowly – then at last, a week ago, the chickens came home to roost: The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the Democrats. And sent orders down to the N.C. Supreme Court to straighten out the mess. Which – for Republicans – couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Because, last fall, Democrats won a majority on the state Supreme Court, so barring a minor miracle the state House and Senate districts are about to be redrawn.

Which leaves one last question: When will the state Supreme Court order the new elections to be held? Will it be in the fall of 2018? Or will there be a Special Election?

Since Roy Cooper was elected Republicans have overridden every single one of his vetoes but a Special Election would give Cooper a shot at electing the Democrats he needs this year and if that happens make no mistake: There will be a first-class no-holds-barred political brawl.

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