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Parties in racial gerrymandering case submit requests, questions for special master

A federal court told parties to a racial gerrymandering case last week that if they had questions for the special master to submit them ahead of the Jan. 5 hearing.

Legislative defendants on Wednesday submitted 42 requests to the court for the special master to answer but none are in the form of a question. Almost all of the requests begin with the word “admit.”

“For the following, please admit or deny the truth of the matter requested,” lawmakers explain in the court document. “For any matter denied, or for which you offer a qualified answer, please explain the basis for the denial or qualified answer.”

Examples of the requests are:

  • “Admit that your final report does not offer an opinion about whether race predominated in the drawing of the 2017 House District (“HD”) 57.”
  • “Admit that you made no findings of fact regarding racial predominance in the drawing of the 2017 HD 21.”
  • “Admit that you did not consult with any elected official in Guilford County (federal, state or local) in redrawing SD 28 or any other Senate Districts in Guilford County. If you did consult with any such person, identify the person with whom you consulted and describe the substance of those conversations.”

Lawmakers preface in the document that they object to being limited to written questions screened in advance by the court. They also accused the special master, Stanford law professor Nathaniel Persily, of acting more like a court-appointed expert.

The plaintiffs in the case also submitted their questions for Persily to the court Wednesday.

They asked nine mostly long-form questions. Examples of those questions are:

  • “You concluded, like the Court, that race continued to predominate in the construction of [Senate District] 21 in Cumberland County in the 2017 enacted plan, based on the district’s ‘noncompact’ shape and ‘the long extension into Fayetteville that seems surgically designed to capture heavily African American precincts, while evading heavily white precincts.’ … Do the pattern of which precincts are excluded from 2017 district, and the district’s high [Black Voting Age Population], also support your conclusion that race continued to predominate? Are there any other factors you observed about the district that confirmed that race continued to predominate in the 2017 version?”
  • “Is it possible to consider race in drawing district lines without race predominating in the process? If yes, how so?”
  • “In general, how did you defer to legislative policy choices in the drawing of the districts you were instructed by the Court to address? With respect to those districts, are there specific examples that highlight your deference to legislative policy choices?”

Any witnesses or testimony presented by either party at the Jan. 5 hearing in Greensboro will count toward their hour and a half to put on arguments.

You can read all the questions for the special master below.

 

Legislator Questions for Special Master by NC Policy Watch on Scribd

Plaintiff Questions for Special Master by NC Policy Watch on Scribd

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