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Breaking: Court tells parties in racial gerrymandering case it intends to act promptly

A three-judge federal District Court panel intends to act promptly once the U.S. Supreme Court transfers jurisdiction over a case involving racially gerrymandered legislative maps.

A court document [1] released late Friday informs parties in the case, North Carolina v. Covington,¬†of the court’s plan. The motion was in response to the plaintiff’s in the case filing [2] a request yesterday to expedite the process, and the court, in the notice, invited defendants to respond as “expeditiously as possible.”

The notice also directs all parties to address other aspects of the case, including:

  • Describing what steps, if any, the State of North Carolina has taken to satisfy its remedial obligations under this Court’s August 15, 2016, Memorandum Opinion and Order; and
  • If the the State has failed to take any meaningful steps to satisfy its remedial obligations under this Court’s August 15, 2016, Memorandum Opinion and Order, addressing whether the State is entitled to any additional time to comply with the Court’s August 15, 2016, Memorandum Opinion and Order.

The court’s order that the Supreme Court affirmed [3] mandated that North Carolina redraw its 28 unconstitutional, racially gerrymandered districts and enjoined the state from holding any more elections after November 2016 under those maps.

The Supreme Court sent back to the lower court its remedial order for special elections but gave instructions on other considerations it should make before deciding such a remedy.

The notice issued by the lower court late Friday also instructs parties in the case to address those considerations, indicating special elections this year might not be off the table yet.

Gov. Roy Cooper released the following statement on the new order:

“I am pleased the court intends to act swiftly. There is no reason for Republican legislators to drag their heels in correcting their wrong after the Supreme Court affirmed their map to be unconstitutional.”