Members of the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus on Thursday called for immediate redrawing of legislative districts, riding on the momentum of recent court decisions and the governor’s call for an immediate special session to comply.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling that found 28 state House and Senate districts drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature to be illegal racial gerrymanders that diluted the overall influence of black voters.
In a news conference at the Legislative Building, the caucus of Democrats called for new districts to be drawn and approved by the courts in time to hold special elections this year. Many of the group’s members’ districts would be affected by redrawn maps.
“Every day that the legislative leaders drag their feet in enacting these remedial districts, they are trampling on the constitutional rights of all North Carolinians and engaging in racial discrimination,” said Sen. Angela Bryant of Rocky Mount.
“This time we are hopeful that all of North Carolina will be represented fairly,” said Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield of Wilson, “so our legislature is no longer making headlines for all the wrong reasons.”
On Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper called the legislature into a 14-day special session on redistricting beginning Thursday, to run concurrently with the regular session that has been underway for months.
But on Thursday, the House and Senate canceled the scheduled session, making the case that the governor’s move was unconstitutional.
Republican leaders in the General Assembly say the governor has no legal role in redistricting and called his announcement a political stunt. They also say the courts have not established a timeline for redistricting as Cooper wants to do.