Primaries have been canceled judicial races and options are being weighed for judicial appointments.
Answers are expected this month. The News & Observer reports that a three-judge panel will hold a hearing in federal court on Jan. 5. They will get feedback on district maps drawn by Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford University law professor hired to review maps adopted by the Republican-led General Assembly.
Persily’s assignment came almost 15 months after the three federal judges — James Wynn of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Catherine Eagles and Thomas Schroeder, both of the U.S. Middle District of North Carolina — ruled that 28 of North Carolina’s 170 districts used to elect legislators from 2011 to 2016 were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders that weakened the statewide influence of black voters.
The lawmakers appealed the decision, but the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld the ruling in June, leaving no question that lawmakers would have to redraw districts before the 2018 elections. In July, after lawmakers still had not presented new maps to the court with proposed fixes for the unconstitutional districts, Eagles and Wynn questioned whether legislators were taking their order seriously. Anne Blythe, The News & Observer
Justice Clarence Thomas is predicted to uphold the maps in a North Carolina’s redistricting case challenging the congressional districts established from 2012 to 2016.
“Even if it is contested or the judges change it, we feel very strongly when the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to redo these things, Clarence Thomas was the deciding vote,” Horner told the business leaders, according to an Oct. 10 report in the Wilson Times. “He voted with the other side because he didn’t think race should be included at all. They were saying we did too much for too little. So we haven’t included race at all this time, so we feel pretty confident that when it comes back, if it gets to the Supreme Court, they are going to uphold our maps and Thomas is going to go back over to the other side because we did what he said. We didn’t include race here. So these maps will probably stick, is my point.”