A challenge to election maps drawn in 2011 that has twice come before the N.C. Supreme Court will return for a third pass before a court that has shifted since its most recent review from a Republican to a Democratic majority. The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an order that sent a lawsuit filed by former Democratic state legislator Margaret Dickson for another review by North Carolina’s highest court. The order tells the North Carolina justices to reconsider its 2015 decision upholding the maps in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week that found lawmakers relied too heavily on race when drawing congressional districts in 2011.
In light of that federal ruling, “our clients are hopeful that the N.C. Supreme Court will follow federal law and recognize these districts for what they are: unconstitutional racial gerrymanders,” said Anita Earls, executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which represents plaintiffs in the case.
“The North Carolina Supreme Court should take action swiftly to require the immediate implementation of fair districts for all North Carolina voters,” Earls added in a statement.
It is not clear how quickly the state Supreme Court can schedule the case for a hearing or whether the federal ruling would lead to a different decision at the state level. If the N.C. justices take a different stand this time, it could lead to a redrawing of legislative districts this year and potentially call for elections to follow.