Judges called on state legislators Tuesday to pump the brakes on a plan to redraw judicial and prosecutorial districts around the state, but the man behind the plan said he’s aiming for an October vote. They also raised the possibility that some of the currently proposed districts, drawn in part to favor Republican election chances, won’t have enough lawyers living in them to produce strong candidate pools. “They are Republican-leaning without many lawyers living in them,” Judge Athena Brooks, who described herself as a Republican and spoke for the North Carolina Association of District Court Judges, said of the proposed new map.
A select committee of House members has met twice now on state Rep. Justin Burr’s plan to rework districts – a plan that took the state’s judges by surprise when he rolled it out in June and a plan Democrats say would shift the state’s judiciary hard to the right.
Burr, R-Stanly, said a new version of his map should be ready for a public unveiling next week. The North Carolina Courts Commission meets next Friday and is slated to take the issue up.
The legislative committee heard Tuesday from a pair of groups representing Superior and District Court judges, as well as the North Carolina State Bar and the North Carolina Bar Association. The association said it surveyed judges on Burr’s plan, and three-fourths of those who responded said the new districts would have negative consequences.