The N.C. Supreme Court issued notice on Thursday that it would hear arguments in August on the challenges to the 2011 redistricting maps outlining legislative and congressional districts across North Carolina. The notice comes nearly three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court sent the case back to North Carolina’s highest court with instructions to reconsider a December decision that upheld the maps. The challengers of the maps had requested a hearing in June, but the scheduled ruled on Thursday sets arguments for Aug. 31.
Anita Earls, executive director for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a law firm representing some of the challengers, said on Thursday that a hearing before the NC justices in late August could produce a tight timeline for redrawing districts, if that were what the court decided, in time for the 2016 elections. “They say it is expedited,” Earls pointed out, “but it isn’t as expedited as we requested.”
On April 20, the U.S. justices said the state’s highest court must reconsider whether legislators relied too heavily on race when drawing the 2011 maps, which shape how state and federal elections will be decided until at least 2020.