Judicial Redistricting in North Carolina: A Plan for Second Class Justice

Voting Rights

Judicial Redistricting in North Carolina: A Plan for Second Class Justice documents some of the racial and partisan biases infecting the most recent judicial redistricting plan presented by a state legislative committee.  Draft judicial districts unveiled in a December 2017 meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Judicial Reform and Redistricting covered many of the same geographic areas as legislative districts found to be unconstitutional racial gerrymanders in some places and are likely to lead to an enormously disproportionate number of Republican judges being elected throughout the state.

The analysis also highlights strong evidence of racial and partisan gerrymandering.  Many of the districts in the proposal look strikingly similar to districts unanimously invalidated or under continued scrutiny as racial gerrymanders from federal courts.  Specifically, districts in Cumberland and Guilford counties appear to pack African-American residents into districts with fewer resources.  The result is unfair lack of access to judicial resources for those communities amounting to second-class justice.

According to the analysis, Republican judges would be expected to win 70 – 72% of Superior Court races, 69.4 – 71 % under the most recent plan put forth in the legislative committee.

The report also highlights population deviations in the judicial redistricting plan that dilute the voting strength of some North Carolinians while advantaging others, as well as analysis of the disproportionate pairing of judges who are African-American and/or registered Democrats.

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