News: Quick Takes

Judges deny request to delay special elections

A panel of federal judges has denied a request from North Carolina lawmakers to delay an order to redraw state House and Senate districts by no later than March 15 and hold special legislative elections later this year.

This upholds a ruling by the court Nov. 29.

In August, the three-judge panel ruled that nine state Senate districts and 19 state House districts were “racial gerrymanders,” in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Since the order came so close to the November 2016 elections, the court begrudgingly allowed the 2016 legislative elections to take place under the challenged maps drawn in 2011.

However, the court ruled that the state could no longer use the maps after November 2016.

Wynn wrote the opinion throwing out the legislative districts and an order setting a March 15, 2017, deadline for the General Assembly to draw new legislative districts

Wynn’s original order was joined by District Court Judges Thomas Schroeder and Catherine Eagles. That same panel ruled again Wednesday.

Lawmakers, as well as former Gov. Pat McCrory, have appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The judges, in the latest ruling, wrote: “To allow such constitutional violations to persist for any longer than necessary would not only harm Plaintiffs, but also the public at large … .”