North Carolina Republican legislative leaders on Monday opposed a plan by federal judges to use an outside expert to help them examine and possibly redraw General Assembly district lines, arguing that it’s premature to hire one and questioning the expert’s impartiality. An attorney for GOP mapmakers objected to the judicial panel’s intentions — announced last week — to appoint a Stanford University law school professor as what’s called a “special master.” The same three judges last year struck down nearly 30 districts originally drawn in 2011 by the GOP-controlled legislature, determining they unlawfully relied too heavily on race. The General Assembly approved new lines in August, but the judges wrote last week they remained concerned that seven House and two Senate districts “either fail to remedy the identified constitutional violation or are otherwise legally unacceptable.”
The judges shouldn’t appoint a special master — Stanford’s Nathaniel Persily or anyone else — until they issue a ruling that explains why the nine districts fall short legally and give the General Assembly another crack at rectifying problems, GOP lawyer Phil Strach wrote.
New districts are supposed to be used in the 2018 elections, and with candidate filing to begin in February there’s sufficient time for the state to fix any problems, Strach added.
“The legislative defendants are concerned that the appointment of a special master as described by the court will instead affirmatively obstruct the state’s ability to exercise its sovereign right to redistrict in the first instance,” he wrote. Persily has assisted judges in drawing districts in four other states.
Full Article: Republicans object to special master in N Carolina remap.