North Carolina's legislative and congressional boundaries were upheld Monday by a three-judge panel, a victory for Republicans who drew the maps and a blow to Democrats and allies who challenged them.Read the full article
The Superior Court judges, in a unanimous 171-page decision, rejected the arguments of Democratic voters, civil rights groups and election advocates who sued 20 months ago over the lines and argued they were racial gerrymanders.
"It is the ultimate holding of this trial court that the redistricting plans enacted by the General Assembly in 2011 must be upheld and that the enacted plans do not impair the constitutional rights of the citizens of North Carolina as those rights are defined by law," the ruling said.
The decision, which is likely to be appealed to the state Supreme Court, reaffirms the lines intended for use through the 2020 elections and have already been shown to favor Republicans. ...
The lawsuits argued the maps were unlawful because they needlessly created legislative districts in which black residents are a majority of the voting-age population. They said the GOP illegally packed black voters into sprawling districts, split voting precincts and failed to keep whole counties within districts.
Attorneys representing the state and legislative leaders disagreed, saying the maps were fair and in line with previous federal and state redistricting decisions. 2011 Redistricting Committee chiefs Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, and Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, said the ruling is "clear repudiation" of the arguments in the lawsuits.