A three-judge panel on Monday upheld legislative and congressional districts drawn by the Republican-dominated General Assembly in 2011, ruling unanimously that the maps were constitutional. Democrats, the state NAACP and good-government groups had sued to invalidate the maps, saying they were improperly drawn based on racial considerations. The opponents also argued lawmakers too finely split the state, dividing so many local voting precincts that it would create confusion. But the three Superior Court judges found that those challenging the maps had not showed “a violation of any cognizable equal protection rights of any North Carolina citizens, or groups thereof, will result.” The plaintiffs in the case, including a former state lawmaker and the state NAACP, have 30 days to decide whether to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.
“With the unanimous decision, I can’t imagine they have any grounds at all to appeal,” said Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, one of the lead mapmakers for the legislature. “When we drew fair and legal district maps, we followed the letter of the law. That’s been the intent since Day One.”
The opinion addresses two different lawsuits that were combined into one case. One suit was brought by the NAACP and other groups. The other case involved 45 plaintiffs, lead by former state Sen. Margaret Dickson of Fayetteville, a contingent that served as a proxy for the state Democratic Party.
“I was hoping on a better outcome,” said Sen. Martin Nesbitt, D-Buncombe, the minority leader in the state Senate. He said Monday morning that he had not read the decision, but based on the how the case has proceeded, he anticipated a more favorable ruling.
Full Article: Court upholds redrawn NC voting maps :: WRAL.com.