Republican legislative defendants in North Carolina’s racial gerrymandering case say state taxpayers should not have to pay the full $124,125 bill from a special master in the federal lawsuit. A lawyer for state Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden), state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) and other current and former GOP officeholders contends Stanford law professor Nathaniel Persily’s services were never really needed as special master. “The taxpayers of North Carolina should not be responsible for the fees and expenses incurred by the special master in this matter because it was not necessary for the court to employ a special master to fix the constitutional deficiencies,” attorney Phillip Strach of Raleigh said in his written objection to the bill Persily submitted recently.
If the three-judge panel overseeing the case ultimately approves Persily’s bill, the costs should be split among North Carolina state government and groups representing the voters who initially filed the lawsuit, said Strach, whose wife heads the state Board of Elections that also is a defendant in the lawsuit.
Strach said that Persily’s work was unnecessary because if the judicial panel of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina had issued a final ruling more promptly last year, “there would have been ample time for the General Assembly to cure any alleged constitutional infirmities” with its own revised map and at lower cost than what Persily is charging, Strach contended.