Courts & the Law, News

Covington plaintiffs: Legislature should not get another opportunity to redraw districts

The plaintiffs in a racial gerrymandering case told a federal court Tuesday that lawmakers should not get another crack at redrawing districts that could still be unconstitutional.

A three-judge panel at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina last week appointed a special master to help review and potentially redraw nine state House and Senate districts that were already redrawn by the legislature to remedy unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.

Legislative defendants on Monday objected to the court’s appointment of Stanford Law School professor Nathaniel Persily in North Carolina v. Covington and said they wanted another chance to correct what might still be unconstitutional.

The plaintiffs objected to their objection.

“While the Supreme Court has instructed that legislatures should in most cases be given a ‘reasonable opportunity’ to remedy constitutional defects in their districting plans, there is no precedent for the proposition that a legislature’s opportunities should be unlimited or that legislatures should be given more than one chance to remedy constitutional violations,” the response states.

The document also states that the court gave the parties to the case a reasonable time to respond to the appointment and was proper in assigning Persily’s responsibilities. It also states that Persily does not have a conflict of interest in the case despite the legislative defendants’ questions about his prior publications and connections to the plaintiffs.

“Though Defendants have ‘amassed a string of objections, each of them when viewed with full knowledge of the facts is so weak that even taken together they amount, at best, to only a trivial risk of bias,'” the response states.

You can read the full document here.

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