In papers filed just minutes ago, the parties challenging the 2011 redistricting of Congressional Districts 1 and 12 have asked the judges who ordered a redrawing of the congressional map by February 19 to deny the state’s request for a stay of that order, arguing that voters have already had to cast ballots in two elections from districts that were unconstitutionally drawn and should not be forced to do so again.
Here’s an excerpt:
Plaintiffs—and every voter in North Carolina—have already been subjected to two elections under the unconstitutional enacted plan. The General Assembly’s improper use of race to sort voters by the color of their skin has violated the Fourteenth Amendment rights of millions of North Carolinian citizens. Unchastened, Defendants now ask the Court to delay implementation of a remedy until 2018. Defendants fail to argue—let alone demonstrate—that they are likely to prevail on the merits of their pending appeal. They do not even acknowledge the Court’s finding that Plaintiffs and millions of other North Carolinians have been forced to vote twice in racially gerrymandered districts and will suffer irreparable injury if they are forced to do so again in 2016. Rather, Defendants’ motion is premised entirely on the assertion that it would be easier and less costly for the State to run the 2016 election under an unconstitutional map. Perhaps.
But even if Defendants could establish a likelihood of success on the merits (which they cannot), the harm Plaintiffs and other residents of CDs 1 and 12 will irrefutably suffer if the stay is granted vastly outweighs the administrative inconvenience and additional cost the State will incur if the primary is delayed to facilitate the implementation of a remedial map. This is particularly true here because (as further discussed below) the State is itself responsible for the present “emergency.” Knowing full well that this Court might strike down the enacted plan, Defendant McCrory signed a bill passed by the General Assembly that accelerated the primary election from May to mid-March. He did so less than two weeks before the trial in this matter commenced. It was hardly coincidence.
An order from the court could come at any time.
Read the full response here.