by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Exactly one week after N.C. voters placed a fifth Democrat on the state Supreme Court, the state Democratic Party and liberal group Common Cause announced a new lawsuit in state court challenging N.C. House and Senate election districts.
The suit contends that the legislative districts are based on partisan gerrymandering that violates the N.C. Constitution. Plaintiffs want new maps drawn for the 2020 elections. Since the suit has been filed in Wake County Superior Court, it’s likely to end up at some point with the N.C. Supreme Court. The election last week of Anita Earls gives Democrats a 5-2 majority on that court.
Democratic attorney Marc Elias broke the news on Twitter.
BREAKING: We have filed a new lawsuit challenges the 2017 redistricting plans for the legislative maps for the North Carolina General Assembly as violating the North Carolina Constitution and seeks to establish new. We seek fair state House and Senate maps for the 2020 elections.
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) November 13, 2018
Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the N.C. Republican Party, issued a brief response. “Only North Carolina Democrats would file a lawsuit to overturn districts that they just won.”
Today’s developments should not surprise anyone who has heard John Locke Foundation Chairman John Hood’s post-election analysis. Hood discussed Monday with JLF’s Shaftesbury Society the likely impact of the election of Earls and two new Democratic Appeals Court judges.
Hood also mentioned Earls’ election in the context of discussing a renewed emphasis on redistricting reform in 2019.