Democrats and voters who filed the first lawsuit this decade challenging North Carolina lawmakers’ redistricting plans went back to state court on Wednesday, seven years after challenging the 2011 election maps, seeking relief from districts they contend still weaken the overall influence of black voters. The request comes the day after the U.S. Supreme Court partially granted a request from Republican lawmakers to block election lines drawn by a Stanford University law professor for four state House districts in Wake County and one House district in Mecklenburg County while they appealed a three-judge panel’s ruling. Republicans contended in the federal case that some of the legal questions should have been settled in state court because they involved questions about violations to the state constitution, but now they are speaking out against further proceedings there.
Though the U.S. Supreme Court order issued Tuesday offered no details about why the emergency relief was granted for North Carolina’s two largest counties, election districts in both those counties raised questions about whether they should have been altered in the middle of the decade.
While that case is on appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court, the critics of the Republican redistricting plans are trying a different appeal to state judges, and they’re doing it through a case that has taken a tortuous path back to Wake County Superior Court, where it stands today.