The Latest: Judge questions N. Carolina redistricting pace
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a federal court hearing on when North Carolina must redraw legislative districts (all times local):
A federal judge says North Carolina’s GOP lawmakers have not taken their duty to redraw illegally race-based districts seriously enough.
U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles is a member of a three-judge panel considering the timetable for when North Carolina must redraw its legislative districts.
At a hearing Thursday, Eagles noted that legislative leaders have known since August 2016 that nearly 30 districts were considered illegal racial gerrymanders. The U.S. Supreme court agreed this summer that the districts need to be redrawn.
Eagles told a lawyer for GOP legislative leaders: “You don’t seem serious. What’s our assurance that you are serious about remedying this?”
Phillip Strach, an attorney for the legislative leaders, responded that the legislature has begun holding hearings and soliciting public input for the new maps.
The judges said they would issue a ruling later.
Judges deciding when North Carolina must redraw its state legislative districts are set to hear from voting rights activists calling for special elections and Republican lawmakers urging a slower pace.
A panel of three federal judges will hear their cases Thursday in Greensboro.
Districts must be redrawn after the federal court ruled 28 House and Senate districts are illegally race-based. That ruling was upheld earlier this year by the U.S. Supreme Court, which returned the case to U.S. District Court to decide the next steps.
The plaintiffs are seeking a special election before next year’s legislative session, while GOP lawmakers argue they should have until later this year to draw new maps for use in 2018’s regularly scheduled elections.