Courts & the Law, News

Lawmakers attempt to set their own timelines in racial gerrymandering case; court will have final say

UPDATE: The U.S. Supreme Court has officially transferred jurisdiction of North Carolina v. Covington back to the lower federal court. Read the order here.

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While you were (probably) sleeping, North Carolina lawmakers named the committee members who will redraw racially gerrymandered legislative maps.

Lawmakers committed to holding a redistricting session no later than Nov. 15, though a court will have the final say on that date.

Today, the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of North Carolina is expected to gain back jurisdiction of North Carolina v. Covington, and will ultimately dictate a timeline and instructions to the legislature for the redrawing of the unconstitutional maps.

The U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court’s finding that the state’s maps were unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered, declined to expedite the case and today marks the mandatory 25-day waiting period.

In addition to overseeing the redraw, the lower court is expected to take up the issue of whether or not there will be special elections before November 2018 as a remedy to the constitutional violations of the gerrymandered maps.

The three-judge panel of the lower court notified all parties in Covington on June 9 that it intended to act promptly once receiving jurisdiction and invited them to submit briefs as soon as possible addressing all the issues at hand.

The plaintiffs responded to the court’s notice on June 15. Legislative defendants submitted a notice Monday that it would not respond until the Supreme Court officially transferred jurisdiction. Unless otherwise directed, the notice said they would respond within three business days of the transfer.

Lawmakers temporarily adjourned overnight and will reconvene Sept. 6, at which point they are expected to take up the surprise judicial redistricting bill unveiled this week among a few other things.

Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), who is currently under investigation, and Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) were named co-chairs of the redistricting committees tasked with redrawing the gerrymandered districts in Covington.

The vice chairs in the House are Representatives John Bell IV (R-Craven, Greene, Lenoir, Wayne), Darren Jackson (D-Wake), Sarah Stevens (R-Surry, Wilkes), John Szoka (R-Cumberland) and John Torbett (R-Gaston).

House members of the committee are: Bill Brawley (R-Mecklenburg), Cecil Brockman (D-Guilford), Justin Burr (R-Montgomery, Stanly), Ted Davis Jr. (R-New Hanover), Jimmy Dixon (R-Duplin, Wayne), Josh Dobson (R-Avery, McDowell, Mitchell), Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), Andy Dulin (R-Mecklenburg), Jean Farmer-Butterfield (D-Pitt, Wilson), Elmer Floyd (D-Cumberland), Terry Garrison (D-Granville, Vance, Warren), Rosa Gill (D-Wake), Holly Grange (R-New Hanover), Destin Hall (R-Caldwell), Edward Hanes Jr. (D-Forsyth), Jon Hardister (R-Guilford), Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford), Kelly Hastings (R-Cleveland, Gaston), Julia Howard (R-Davie, Forsyth), Howard Hunter III (D-Bertie, Gates, Hertford, Pasquotank), Pat Hurley (R-Randolph), Linda Johnson (R-Cabarrus), Bert Jones (R-Caswell, Rockingham), Jonathan Jordan (R-Ashe, Watauga), Chris Malone (R-Wake), Mickey Michaux (D-Durham), Rodney Moore (D-Mecklenburg), Garland Pierce (D-Hoke, Richmond, Robeson, Scotland), Robert Reives II (D-Chatham, Lee), David Rogers (R-Burke, Rutherford), Jason Saine (R-Lincoln), Michael Speciale (R-Beaufort, Craven, Pamlico), Shelly Willingham (D-Edgecombe, Martin), Michael Wray (D-Halifax, Northampton), Larry Yarborough (R-Granville, Person).

Senate members are: Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg), Dan Blue (D-Wake), Harry Brown (R-Jones, Onlsow), Ben Clark (D-Cumberland, Hoke), Warren Daniel (R-Burke, Cleveland), Kathy Harrington (R-Gaston), Brent Jackson (R-Duplin, Johnston, Sampson), Michael Lee (R-New Hanover), Paul Lowe Jr. (D-Forsyth), Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus, Union), Bill Rabon (R-Bladen, Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender), Erica Smith-Ingram (D-Bertie, Chowan, Edgecombe, Hertford, Martin, Northampton, Tyrrell, Washington), Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe) and Trudy Wade (R-Guilford).

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