Special Master Releases Final Recommendations in NC Racial Gerrymandering Caseby Dustin Chicurel-Bayard December 4, 2017
Allison Riggs, senior voting rights attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and attorney for plaintiffs in the case, issued the following statement after Dr. Persily filed his final recommendations:
“We appreciate the hard work done by Dr. Persily to make sure that North Carolinians have fair districts and an equal voice in our democracy. It appears he took into account all of the feedback he received from plaintiffs and defendants.”
The plaintiffs will submit a full response to the court by Friday, December 8, 2017.
Background about this case:
On June 5, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court summarily affirmed a lower court’s decision in Covington v. North Carolina that 28 of North Carolina’s state legislative districts are racial gerrymanders. The decision was issued “per curiam,” meaning by a unanimous decision of the Court. The ruling came two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court found two of the state’s congressional districts were also racial gerrymanders.
On July 31, 2017, North Carolina’s Middle District Court ordered the North Carolina General Assembly to redraw legislative maps by September 1, 2017, in order to remedy the unconstitutional racial gerrymandaniters. The legislature adopted new maps on August 30, 2017.
Plaintiffs filed objections to the newly drawn district plans and a hearing was held in North Carolina’s Middle District Court on October 12, 2017.
On October 26, 2017, the Middle District Court announced its intention to appoint Dr. Nathaniel Persily to the position of “Special Master” to review the newly adopted redistricting plan and make recommendations to ensure compliance with state and federal law. Dr. Persily’s appointment became official on November 1, 2017.
Dr. Persily issued draft recommended changes to the state’s redistricting plan on November 13, 2017, and solicited feedback from the plaintiffs and defendants. Both submitted comments.
Meeting the deadline set by the three-judge panel, Dr. Persily submitted his final set of recommendations to North Carolina’s Middle District Court on December 1, 2017.
Plaintiffs and defendants have five business days to file comments about the recommendations to the court.
The three-judge panel has scheduled a hearing on the Report of the Special Master at 9:30 a.m. on January 5, 2018, in Greensboro, N.C.