RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A U.S. Supreme Court ruling has brought foes over how North Carolina congressional and General Assembly boundaries were drawn back to North Carolina’s highest court.
The state’s justices heard arguments Monday in redistricting lawsuits filed nearly four years ago by Democratic voters and civil rights and election advocacy groups. There’s no timetable for a ruling.
“If you follow the law, you basically have a cookbook. And that’s exactly what we did to achieve the results,” said Sen. Bob Rucho, a Republican from Mecklenburg County.
“The court has had a chance to review it. This is their second time. And so, under the circumstances, we believe they will recognize the fact that we have fulfilled our obligation to the people of the state.”
But the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, said, “Discriminatory racial quota in a way that dilutes and diminishes the power of the black vote is illegal. It’s unconstitutional.”
The maps drawn by Republicans at the legislature were upheld by a three-judge panel, followed by a majority on the state Supreme Court last December. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in April a second look was needed after a separate Alabama redistricting decision.
The stakes of the case remain high. The maps have helped Republicans extend control of the Legislature and hold 10 of the state’s 13 congressional seats.
Sen. Dan Blue, a Democrat, said, “Any time race become a predominant factor in doing anything, not just drawing electoral districts, the 14th amendment requires there be a compelling state interest for it.”
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