Attorneys representing the state and registered voters argued before a three-judge panel on Monday about the impact of a lawsuit filed over North Carolina’s legislative district maps on the state’s 2016 primaries. The plaintiffs say the lines drawn by Republican lawmakers for nearly 30 House and Senate districts are illegal because they relied too much on race. They don’t want the districts used in 2016 and want candidate filing delayed until updated boundaries are set. Attorneys for the state say the judges should delay any decision until other redistricting litigation is resolved. There are three pending redistricting cases. The boundaries have never been struck down and were used in the 2012 and 2014 elections.
Anita Earls, executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, went before the three judges to seek a preliminary injunction. She used a power-point presentation featuring maps and election results and a stack of documents to help present her case in the third-floor courtroom at the federal courthouse in downtown Greensboro.
“We think the use of these plans should be delayed until the constitutionality of these can be determined,” Earls said.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder questioned Earls about the timing of the request, noting that the official filing period for candidates seeking legislative seats in North Carolina begins Dec. 1.