NC Superior Court Upholds Redistricting Bill – Sets New Filing Period

Screenshot from NC Superior Court

On November 4, 2021, the North Carolina General Assembly ratified Senate Bill 740 / SL 2021-174 (2021-2022 Session) – ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2021/S740, “into law as AN ACT TO REALIGN THE CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS FOLLOWING THE RETURN OF THE 2020 FEDERAL DECENNIAL CENSUS” and re-writes N.C.G.S. § 163-201(a) to divide the State of North Carolina into fourteen (14) districts “[f]or purposes of nominating and electing members of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States in 2022 and periodically thereafter[.]”.

The North Carolina League of Conservation Voters et al. v. Hall, Harper et al. v. Hall and Common Cause v. Hall. filed a complaint against Representative Destin Hall, in his official capacity as Chair of the House Standing Committee on Redistricting.

On January 11, 2022, the North Carolina Superior Court upheld SB 740. Read the three-judge panel conclusion here:

“All of Plaintiffs’ claims in these lawsuits, in essence, stem from the basic argument that the 2021 redistricting maps passed by the North Carolina General Assembly are unconstitutional under the North Carolina Constitution. We have taken great lengths to examine that document. At the end of the day, after carefully and fully conducting our analysis, it is clear that Plaintiffs’ claims must fail. Judges, just like many of the citizens they serve, do not always like the results they reach. That fact notwithstanding, judges have a solemn duty to uphold the law. We have done our best to perform that duty, regardless of the consequences. Our complete ruling is more fully set forth in the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law:”

Decree

“Having considered all of the evidence, the memoranda and arguments of counsel, and the record proper, and based upon the foregoing Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, the Court ORDERS the following:

“I.   Plaintiffs’ requests for Declaratory Judgment are DENIED.”

“II.  Plaintiffs’ requests for Permanent Injunctive Relief are DENIED.”

“III. This Judgment fully and finally resolves all claims of all Plaintiffs raised in the consolidated cases and Judgment is hereby entered in favor of Legislative Defendants, and Plaintiffs Claims are hereby dismissed with prejudice.”

“IV. The candidate filing period for the 2022 primary and municipal elections is hereby set and shall resume at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 24, 2022 and shall continue through and end at 12:00 noon on Friday, March 4, 2022.”

Read the full opinion here.

According to the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which represented plaintiff Common Cause, called the ruling, “disappointing — but vowed to appeal to the state Supreme Court”.

Want to learn more? Check out these references:

ncsbe.gov/results-data/election-results/historical-election-results-data

census.gov/data/datasets/2020/dec/2020-census-redistricting-summary-file-dataset.html

census.gov/geographies/mapping-files/time-series/geo/tiger-line-file.html

https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial/2020/data/01-Redistricting_File–PL_94- 171/North_Carolina/

By Wendy Card