Courts & the Law, News

GOP mum after special master appointment in racial gerrymandering case

Social media was buzzing yesterday with reactions from everyone but GOP lawmakers after a federal three-judge panel appointed a special master to review and potentially redraw some state House and Senate districts.

The panel announced its intention last week to appoint Stanford Law professor Nathaniel Persily as special master in North Carolina v. Covington but made it official in an order Wednesday overriding lawmakers’ objections.

Legislative leaders who have previously been quick on social media to either commend or criticize judges after court rulings were silent after the order was released.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore and redistricting committee co-chairs Re. David Lewis (R-Harnett) and Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) still have yet to comment publicly.

A spokeswoman for Berger, Amy Auth, gave a statement to the News & Observer on behalf of Lewis and Hise. She did not return a request for comment from NC Policy Watch.

“Less than 24 hours after receiving final input from all parties, the court has issued a lengthy order to seize the constitutional and sovereign right to draw districts from North Carolina’s elected representatives and instead hand it to an unelected California college professor with clear conflicts of interest,” she told the newspaper. “We are disturbed the court has apparently planned all along to achieve its preferred political outcome and are reviewing our legal options.”

The North Carolina GOP party also did not return a request for comment about the order.

Allison Riggs, senior attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and an attorney for the plaintiffs in the case, reiterated that the court has not yet decided which objections they will sustain, but said they remain hopeful.

“We’re still cautiously optimistic and hopeful this will lead us to finally have fair and constitutional districts for the 2018 elections,” she said.

Democrats responded to the order quickly on social media. Some of their reactions:

Check Also

Legislative bill tracking: Former judge turned lawmaker keeping track of ‘war’ on judiciary

Trying to keep track of the major legislation ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

A pivotal legislative task force may be just beginning its dive into North Carolina’s school funding [...]

The controversy over “Silent Sam,” the Confederate monument on UNC’s Chapel Hill campus, has been ra [...]

North Carolina tries to mine its swine and deal with a poop problem that keeps piling up A blanket o [...]

This story is part of "Peak Pig," an examination of the hog industry co-published with Env [...]

With Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the White House desperate to post a big legislative win, the [...]

Latest court system mess is directly linked to the Right’s ideological war on public structures Some [...]

Republicans in Congress are rushing to advance a tax reform bill that balloons the federal deficit s [...]

The post Charitable donations and the GOP’s chopping block appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

Spotlight on Journalism

We invite you to join a special celebration of investigative journalism! The evening will feature Mike Rezendes, a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe Spotlight Team known for their coverage of the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Tickets available NOW!

Spotlight On Journalism

This event will benefit NC Policy Watch, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center. Sponsorship opportunities available now!

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more