Indeed it can. According to an article at Esquire by Charlie Pierce, entitled "We're at a Crossroads in Our Democracy":
In 2016, when the state’s House of Representatives was debating the new map, Representative David Lewis, who ran the North Carolina House’s redistricting effort, said plainly:But the other day the law was struck down by a North Carolina court. A quote from the decision:
“I acknowledge freely that this would be a political gerrymander, which is not against the law…I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats. So I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country.”
“A partisan gerrymander that is intended to and likely has the effect of entrenching a political party in power undermines the ability of voters to effect change when they see legislative action as infringing on their rights. We agree with Plaintiffs that a wealth of evidence proves the General Assembly’s intent to ‘subordinate’ the interests of non-Republican voters and ‘entrench’ Republican domination of the state’s congressional delegation.”Back to you, Art Pope.