The three-judge federal court panel reviewing North Carolina legislative districts decided Thursday to appoint Stanford Law School professor Nathaniel Persily to redo at least part of the maps submitted in the Covington v. North Carolina lawsuit.
In its order, the panel said it was likely two of the three Senate districts and seven of the nine House districts the plaintiffs challenged either failed to meet the court’s concerns about providing “equal protection” to voters under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or were “otherwise legally unacceptable.”
With the candidate filing period for the 2018 election cycle approaching, the panel chose Persily — who has served as a special master for redistricting plans in New York, Connecticut, Georgia, and Maryland — to assist the court with new maps or redraw them himself.
The court expects this process to move quickly, noting one reason it chose Persily is that, along with his qualifications and experience, he “has time over the next few weeks to complete the work required by this appointment.
Two weeks ago, the court asked the parties to agree on a list of three possible candidates to serve as special masters. They could not.
Persily commented about the Cooper v. Harris lawsuit, challenging North Carolina’s congressional districts, in May for the Stanford Law School website.
At the time, he questioned the significance of the North Carolina case compared with other redistricting challenges under way around the country. “It [Cooper] may affect a few districts here and there, but it should not have widespread consequences for either partisan or racial gerrymanders,” Persily said.
You can read his remarks here.