Cooper, Stein file amicus brief in NC Supreme Court over congressional map lawsuits

North Carolina news

(Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper (D) and Attorney General Josh Stein (D) filed an amicus brief in the North Carolina Supreme Court on Monday that urges the court to quickly hear and decide two cases dealing with new election maps.

The plaintiffs in the two cases, North Carolina League of Conservation Voters v. Hall and Harper v. Hall, say the districts drawn in the maps are unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders.

The maps were approved by Republicans in the General Assembly in November.

Cooper and Stein said they want an expedited review of the cases to “ensure that the 2022 elections in North Carolina are based on fair maps that represent the will of the people.”

“Voters are stripped of their voices by technologically diabolical and unconstitutionally partisan districts,” said Cooper. “For the health of our democracy, the Supreme Court should hear this challenge quickly and thoroughly.”

The brief says the Supreme Court should take up the case quickly because it presents “issues of profound legal importance, and a delay in deciding the case could cause substantial harm if elections are allowed to go forward using unconstitutional districts.”

The North Carolina League of Conservation Voters’ lawsuit is aiming to get the maps thrown out, arguing Republicans had illegally gerrymandered them to give the party a significant advantage in winning most of the seats for the General Assembly and the U.S. House.

The NCLCV wants judges to declare the maps to be unconstitutional and proposed alternative maps to use instead.

Republicans have denied using partisan data in drawing the maps.

“While they may not have been looking at partisan data in the room, somebody was looking at partisan data outside of that room. And, these Republican map drawers clearly had an indication of what they were doing from a partisan standpoint,” said Scott Falmlen, a co-founder of Nexus Strategies and former executive director of the state Democratic Party. “Republican members chose their voters and they did not draw maps that allow the voters to choose who their representatives are.”

The filing comes the same day the North Carolina Court of Apparels indefinitely delayed candidate filing in the U.S. House and state House and Senate races for 2022.

The Court of Appeals ordered Republican legislators to file a response by noon Thursday. The court said a ruling be made either after they file or after the deadline if there is no response.

Judges last week rejected requests in redistricting lawsuits to delay the primary date and thus candidate filing.

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