Procedural ruling does not disturb lower court’s finding that General Assembly racially gerrymandered legislative districts
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court has granted the State of North Carolina’s request to delay a lower court’s direction in Covington v. North Carolina, halting requirements for the state to redraw state legislative districts and conduct a special election in 2017.
A federal three-judge panel in the Middle District of North Carolina ordered the redistricting and elections late last year after finding in August that 28 legislative districts were racially gerrymandered in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision does not overturn the lower court’s finding on racial gerrymandering but puts the lower court’s remedy on hold while the state’s appeal proceeds.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, along with the Poyner Spruill law firm, represents the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
After the high court’s decision, Anita Earls, Executive Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, issued the following statement:
“Today’s action just puts everything on hold while the U.S. Supreme Court considers the appeal of whether the district court was correct to order special elections in 2017. On behalf of our clients, we continue to trust that the district court’s ruling will be upheld and new districts ultimately will be drawn that are not based on race. ”