North Carolina’s updated congressional districts — redrawn by legislators after federal judges ruled some lines created illegal racial gerrymanders — also are unconstitutional and should be rejected, according to the voters who originally sued to overturn them. Lawyers for David Harris and Christine Bowers — voters who challenged the previous majority black 1st and 12th District boundaries — filed in federal court their objections to boundaries drawn by the Republican-led General Assembly on Feb. 19. They also want the judges to draw new maps themselves. For the map originally drawn in 2011, the plaintiffs’ attorneys argued the GOP mapmakers previously packed black voters into the two districts so as to make surrounding areas more white and Republican.
With the new map, the voters’ lawyers wrote, the legislature went to the extreme in the other direction when it said it ignored racial demographics. Instead, they said, lawmakers substituted an extreme partisan gerrymander designed to help Republicans keep the 10 congressional seats they now hold out of the 13 in a state that’s largely evenly-split politically and scattered black voters “to the winds.”
“The General Assembly has diced up African American voters across nearly all congressional districts, once again ensuring that minority voter influence is suppressed by the white majority in as many districts as possible, and cementing the extreme Republican advantage achieved through the unconstitutional plan,” lawyers Kevin Hamilton and Eddie Speas wrote in the document filed late Monday night.