A panel of federal judges has ordered North Carolina lawmakers to use maps created by a Stanford University law professor in the coming elections – in the second ruling this week on a state redistricting case. The ruling, released on Friday, comes less than a month before the filing period opens on Feb. 12 for candidates seeking office in the state Senate and House of Representatives. The ruling has an impact on districts in eight counties – Senate districts in Cumberland, Guilford and Hoke, and House districts in Bladen, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Sampson, Wake and Wayne counties. All other districts remain as adopted by lawmakers in late August.
It caps a week of much redistricting news for North Carolina. Less than 24 hours earlier, early Thursday evening, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the effects of a ruling in a different gerrymander case in which a different three-judge panel found North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts to be unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders.
Now Republican lawmakers plan to appeal Friday’s ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court as well.
The plan by Nathaniel Persily of Stanford University alters nine legislative districts adopted by lawmakers in 2017 to comply with a 2016 court ruling. In 2016, federal judges ruled that 28 of the state’s districts used for electing General Assembly members were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.