The North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday upheld the earlier, unanimous ruling of a majority-Democrat judicial panel that congressional and legislative redistricting maps passed by the General Assembly in 2011 meet all applicable standards of federal and state law. The court rejected claims made by left-leaning special interest groups and paid activists during a 2013 July hearing on the maps.
The court affirmed the decision by stating, “We agree with the unanimous three-judge panel that the General Assembly’s enacted plans do not violate plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. We hold that the enacted House and Senate plans satisfy state and federal constitutional and statutory requirements. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court.”
“Today’s decision confirms that our redistricting process and maps are what we have said all along: fair and legal. We are proud to have broken the cycle set by previous legislatures that repeatedly saw their maps tossed out by the courts as illegal. We hope today’s decision will finally put to rest the hyper-partisan rhetoric parroted by our opponents out of political spite.”
In ruling in favor of the North Carolina General Assembly, the court stated that, “the maps enacted by the duly elected General Assembly also represent an equally legitimate understanding of legislative districts that will function for the good of the whole.”
On the issue of whether the maps offered by the special interests groups were “more legal” the court wrote, “Not only is plaintiffs’ argument inconsistent with our holding in Pender County, this flawed approach adversely affects the first step of the process required by [law], the formation of VRA districts. As a result, plaintiffs’ maps are distorted ab initio and the distortion is compounded at each subsequent step.”
Representative David Lewis and Senator Bob Rucho chaired the legislative committees that oversaw the drawing of the 2011 redistricting maps in North Carolina.
Representative Lewis has served six terms in the General Assembly and is the incoming chairman of the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House (usually just called the “Rules Committee”) — undoubtedly the most powerful committee in the House of Representatives.
Senator Rucho has served seven terms in the General Assembly and he currently serves on twenty different committees.