The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday November 29th

McCrory challenges redistricting rulings in final days in office

As North Carolina Governor-elect Roy Cooper prepares for his first day in office, the state has filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The state requested that Chief Justice John Roberts stay the ruling of a district court on the state’s redistricting maps — which requires special elections to be held in the fall of 2017 after districts are redrawn in March.

The emergency motion said the district court's ruling was unconstitutional, given that it was made just three weeks after the November elections. Of particular concern is the potential for elected officials to be removed from office before their two-year term expires. 

“The district court has now ordered the most extreme and intrusive remedy possible: partial invalidation of an election and imposition of a special election that overrides multiple provisions of the North Carolina Constitution,” the motion said.

The November court decision followed an earlier ruling by a three-judge panel in August that determined the 2011 N.C. House and Senate maps were “racial gerrymanders” but would stand for the 2016 elections given time constraints.

The panel's decision stressed that voters were entitled to vote with constitutional districting plans in place as soon as possible. 

Challenging the court's determination that the racial gerrymander was "egregious," the state's emergency motion also casts doubt on whether a special election is the appropriate remedy for the situation. 

“And even if this Court ultimately determines that there is a constitutional problem with the original North Carolina districts, it is almost certain that the maps necessary to remedy the problems this Court identifies will not be the same maps necessary to comply with the district court’s unusual view of the Equal Protection Clause,” the motion said, addressing a potential Supreme Court decision.

CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story indicated that outgoing Governor Pat McCrory filed the emergency motion with the Supreme Court. The State of North Carolina filed the motion in the closing hours of the McCrory Administration but the governor is not explicitly named a party on the motion. The article has been updated to reflect that change.

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