Judges order lawmakers to redraw district maps and hold 2017 elections

N.C. House and Senate leaders plan appeal

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
Rep. David Lewis

RALEIGH — On Tuesday a federal court ordered the N.C. General Assembly to re-draw its state district maps by March to replace ones ruled unconstitutional and a product of racial gerrymandering by the same three-judge panel last summer. The order also said that the state must hold elections with the new maps in November of 2017. Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) and Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg), Chairmen of the House and Senate Redistricting Committees, released the following joint statement Tuesday:”This politically-motivated decision, which would effectively undo the will of millions of North Carolinians just days after they cast their ballots, is a gross overreach that blatantly disregards the constitutional guarantee for voters to duly elect their legislators to biennial terms. We continue to believe the maps drawn by the General Assembly, pre-cleared by the Obama Justice Department and twice upheld by our state’s elected Supreme Court are constitutional, and we will move quickly to appeal.”Lewis and Rucho added that, because the court’s original ruling has already been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and could well be overturned. The state is divided into 120 N.C. House districts and 50 Senate districts. The legislative maps in question were drawn by the General Assembly in 2011 after receiving pre-clearance from the U.S. justice department as complying with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Still, lawsuits were filed over the maps by groups claiming that they attempt to marginalize the African-American vote, but the maps were upheld in three court decisions.