Courts & the Law, News

Media reports: New redistricting lawsuit filed over congressional districts

There has apparently been a new redistricting lawsuit filed — voters from 13 congressional districts across the state are alleging lawmakers unconstitutionally drew maps to benefit Republicans, according to several media outlets.

The lawsuit comes a week and a day after North Carolina lawmakers submitted remedial state House and Senate districts to a three-judge panel after they ordered a redraw because of partisan gerrymandering. It was filed in the same Wake County Superior Court, according to reports.

WRAL posted a copy of the lawsuit online. The court has not yet officially released a copy of the lawsuit.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore, Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) and Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) — who are all named as defendants in the document — did not respond to a request for comment Thursday from NC Policy Watch.

The suit is over the 2016 congressional map, which is described in the document as possibly “the most extreme and brazen partisan gerrymander in American history.”

“There is no dispute that the 2016 congressional map reflects an extreme and intentional effort to maximize Republican advantage,” it states. “Legislative Defendants proudly admitted it at the time. They adopted ‘Partisan Advantage’ as an official criterion, directing that the districts be constructed to ‘maintain the current partisan makeup of North Carolina’s congressional delegation,’ namely ’10 Republicans and 3 Democrats.'”

The U.S. Supreme Court heard a similar lawsuit earlier this year but ultimately ruled that partisan gerrymandering was out of the reach of federal courts. That ruling, followed by the successful state challenge to partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina this summer and another previous lawsuit in Pennsylvania has set a roadmap for similar disputes.

The lawsuit filed Friday is being backed by The National Redistricting Foundation. The question of whether lawmakers’ remedial state legislative maps enacted last week will stand under court review is still pending.

North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Wayne Goodwin did not respond to requests Thursday about the lawsuit from NC Policy Watch but released a public statement Friday about believing strongly in fair maps.

For more information about the lawsuit, read the full document here.

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