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Lawmakers ask lower court to stay special master order pending appeal to Supreme Court

A court’s order to implement a special master’s legislative districts before the 2018 elections is disrupting candidate filing plans, according to a few Republican lawmakers.

The legislative defendants in North Carolina v. Covington, the state’s ongoing racial gerrymandering case, filed a request Sunday to stay the order to use Stanford law professor Nathaniel Persily’s plan.

“Since August 31, 2017, voters and candidates have become accustomed to the 2017 plans and have been making electoral plans using those districts,” the request states. “Now, just a few weeks before candidate filing, this Court has disrupted those plans, and thrown months of planning into confusion.”

Persily’s plan has been available to voters and legislative candidates since Dec. 1. It’s also widely known that some of the districts drawn by the General Assembly were being litigated and could be rejected by the court.

Lawmakers requested the stay pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. They state in the request that the Supreme Court “will likely reverse” the three-judge panel’s decision.

“This Court clearly lacked the jurisdiction and authority to impose new districts in Wake and Mecklenburg counties where none of the 2017 districts were challenged as continuing to be racial gerrymanders,” it states.

Plaintiffs in Covington challenged those districts based on a state constitutional prohibition on mid-decade redistricting. Legislative defendants argued in court that they could redraw them because of a ripple effect caused by being forced to fix nearby districts.

Lawmakers asked for a ruling on the stay by the end of the day today, but U.S. District Court Thomas Schroeder ordered that parties to the case have until 5 p.m. tomorrow to respond to the request.

You can read the full request below:

Lower Court Request for Stay SM by NC Policy Watch on Scribd

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