The state NAACP, a group of Democratic voters and other voter-rights organizations are taking their fight against the legislative and congressional boundaries drawn by Republicans to the state’s highest court. “We know, without a doubt, that the battle for voting rights is one that must be won,” the Rev. William Barber, head of the state NAACP, said on the Wake County courthouse steps on Monday. “We know we’re in a battle for the ballot.” Their notice of appeal comes two weeks after a panel of three Superior Court judges validated the legislative and congressional districts intended to be used through the 2020 elections. They had 30 days to decide whether to appeal to the N.C. Supreme Court. The NAACP, Democrats and voter-rights organizations challenging the maps argue that they are racial gerrymanders designed to weaken the influence of black voters. “They were a cynical use of race,” said Anita Earls, executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and one of the attorneys representing some of the plaintiffs.
… The three Superior Court judges that reviewed the legal challenge said in their ruling that “the Enacted Plans do not impair the constitutional rights of the citizens of North Carolina as those rights are defined by law.”
“Political losses and partisan disadvantage are not the proper subject for judicial review, and those whose power or influence is stripped away by shifting political winds cannot seek a remedy from courts of law, but they must find relief from courts of public opinion in future elections,” the judges wrote in their ruling.
Republicans said at the time of the ruling that they hoped the plaintiffs would not further challenge the decision, arguing that such an appeal would be costly to tax payers.
Joyner, the Durham attorney, said he interpreted the law differently than the judges and hopes a higher court will be persuaded by arguments on appeal. Their legal strategies were not included in the notice of appeal.
“This three-judge panel failed to understand and apply the law as it was supposed to be applied,” Joyner said.