A federal judge on Monday overturned a legislative redrawing of the Greensboro City Council districts, calling the maps unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles stated in her ruling that the action taken by the Republican-controlled General Assembly in July 2015 established one racially gerrymandered district and unjustly packed too many Democratic-leaning voters into several districts, weakening their overall voting power. The Greensboro redistricting plan was sponsored by Republican Sen. Trudy Wade but she claimed legislative immunity and refused to testify at the trial earlier this year about why she introduced the 2015 plan. It surfaced in the same legislative session that the General Assembly attempted to change election districts for the Wake County commissioners. Both bills drew much criticism and speculation that the changes were power grabs designed to elect more Republicans.
Advocates of the changes argued the new Wake County and Greensboro plans would give residents better representation.
The Wake plan was overturned last summer in federal court. Instead, district lines that had been in place in 2011 were used for elections held last year.
The Greensboro plan, Eagles wrote in her ruling for the city and the six residents who filed the federal lawsuit, was “not directed or rationally related to any identifiable legitimate governmental purpose.”