State legislative leaders may regret fighting against being part of the federal lawsuit that led to their new election maps for Wake County Board of Commissioners and school board being declared unconstitutional. In an article posted online Tuesday in the Carolina Journal, Rep. Paul Stam laments how Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore had been dropped as defendants so their attorneys weren’t in court to defend the maps. But an attorney for the plaintiffs points to how lawmakers didn’t want to be part of the litigation in the first place. Stam tells the Carolina Journal that no one went to bat for the lawmakers who redrew the districts when the case went before the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals this year. Stam, an Apex Republican and attorney, notes how the office of state Attorney General Roy Cooper would have been defending the districts if Berger and Moore were still defendants. “In contrast to Europe, which is inquisitorial, the American and English legal systems are called adversarial,” Stam said. “You count on the fact that each side will be represented, so the truth will come out.”
Stam tells the Carolina Journal that he hopes Moore and Berger will attempt to intervene and ask the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the July 1 appellate decision so that the new Wake lines can be used in November.
Stam’s statement in the Carolina Journal that Moore and Berger were “involuntarily dismissed” as defendants by the Fourth Circuit was challenged by Anita Earls, an attorney for the plaintiffs. Earls says the statement is “demonstrably false.”
When the lawsuit was first filed in 2013 against the Wake school board maps, the State of North Carolina and the Wake County Board of Elections were both named as defendants. Plaintiffs later tried to amend the lawsuit to also name Moore, Gov. Pat McCrory and then House Speaker Thom Tillis as defendants.