A state court has refused to order new districts in Wake and Mecklenburg counties after the U.S. Supreme Court stayed a special master’s plan for those areas, likely because of jurisdictional issues with state constitutional violations vs federal ones.
After the Supreme Court’s ruling last week in North Carolina v. Covington, a three-judge panel in Wake County Superior Court was asked to review a similar racial gerrymandering case challenging the same maps.
The panel concluded that “significant practical difficulties, if not jurisdictional impediments, exist when one court is called upon to construe and enforce another court’s order that was made upon a distinct and separate record by distinct and separate plaintiffs.”
The panel thought the new state constitutional claims in Covington’s remedial maps best be asserted in new litigation.
“We are reviewing what the next steps are for the plaintiffs in the case who have been seeking justice since 2011 and still have not found it,” said Allison Riggs, senior voting rights attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and attorney for the plaintiffs in the case. “We are concerned by the precedent set in today’s order. When a plan is found to be unconstitutional, it’s only right for the court to review the remedy enacted to make sure that it is legal and fair.”