If the separation-of-powers undertones in the judicial redistricting process weren’t already obvious, state Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanly, left no doubt Tuesday. The General Assembly is exercising its authority to redraw district and Superior Court maps “not for the benefit of lawyers, but for the benefit of the people of this state,” Burr said after presiding over a meeting of the House Select Committee on Redistricting he chairs. Several lawyers and judges agreed during the 2 ½ hour meeting it’s a good idea to update and reconfigure the judicial districts. The most recent time that was done Dwight Eisenhower was president, “The $64,000 Question” was the top-rated TV show, and Mitch Miller and The Drifters were among the biggest pop music acts.
All of the judicial branch witnesses — and some Democrat members of the committee — implored Burr to slow the process, engage all of the stakeholders, and conduct a meticulous review, even if that means pushing a vote on a reform bill into the next legislative session.
“This is serious business. This is even more important than drawing our [legislative] district lines,” said Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg.
Burr was unswayed. He cited a pressing need to modernize and clean up judicial districts. Many have serious disparities, which were created by incremental changes in the 60 years since they were last drawn.