FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 21, 2022
Raleigh, N.C. (Feb. 21, 2022) — In a court filing Monday, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, on behalf of plaintiff Common Cause, detailed the latest unconstitutional redistricting proposal from the North Carolina General Assembly, which dilutes the voting power of Black voters and relies on misleading data to cover up their extreme partisan gerrymander.
Once again, the North Carolina General Assembly’s proposed remedial maps willfully ignore state law protecting North Carolinians’ fundamental rights, expressed by the North Carolina Supreme Court’s opinion in Harper et. al. v. Hall et. al, and long standing precedent under Stephenson. Specifically, the Legislature failed to conduct a nuanced racially polarized voting analysis, despite advance warning from plaintiffs, and instead passed state House and state Senate districts diluting Black voting power.
Common Cause’s February 18 submission to the Wake County Superior Court details how legislative maps can protect Black voters’ ability to elect candidates of their choice by drawing a new House District 10, centered in Wayne County, and a new Senate District 4, which encompasses Edgecombe, Wilson, and most of Wayne counties.
“The North Carolina Supreme Court’s February 14 opinion was a historic victory for Black North Carolinians, who were most harmed by the legislature’s extreme partisan gerrymandering,” said Hilary Harris Klein, Senior Voting Rights Counsel with South Coalition for Social Justice. “We will safeguard that momentous decision by holding the Legislature accountable to their responsibility to protect North Carolinians’ basic rights.”
The General Assembly’s proposed maps also rely on misleading and skewed data, contradicting clear guidelines from the Court for analyzing partisan bias. Their metrics, previously discredited during a January trial, only serve to cover up persistent efforts to manipulate maps entrenching their own power. The Legislature not only relied on faulty data, but did so through a secretive process shutting out public comment, failing to come to a bipartisan agreement, and hiding the source of “outside legal counsel.”
“Instead of following the NC Supreme Court’s clear ruling, Republican legislative leaders chose to craft districts that continue to be illegally gerrymandered for their own self-interests at the expense of free elections,” said Bob Phillips, Executive Director of Common Cause NC. “We’re asking the court to correct the legislature’s failure to comply with the North Carolina Constitution. Our state’s voting districts don’t belong to politicians, they belong to the people. We must have maps that respect the rights of all North Carolinians.”
The Wake County Superior Court’s three-judge panel, alongside three appointed Special Masters, has until noon on Wednesday, February 23 to approve new state legislative and Congressional voting maps. Parties have until 5pm on February 23 to appeal the trial court’s decision to the North Carolina Supreme Court. Candidate filing for the May 17 primary election is currently slated to begin at 8am on Thursday, February 24.
Gino Nuzzolillo, firstname.lastname@example.org, 402-415-4763; SCSJ
Melissa Boughton, email@example.com, 830-481-6901, SCSJ
Bryan Warner, BWarner@commoncause.org, 919-599-7541; Common Cause NC
Ritchenya A. Dodd, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-918-6155; Hogan Lovells
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, founded in 2007, partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the South to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights through the combination of legal advocacy, research, organizing, and communications. Learn more at southerncoalition.org and follow our work on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.
Global law firm Hogan Lovells has a long tradition of supporting ground-breaking social developments, focusing on access to justice and the rule of law. As lawyers we recognize this commitment is part of our professional practice and collectively we spend 150,000+ pro bono hours per year on work to achieve lasting impact for others.