GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a federal court hearing on whether redrawn North Carolina legislative districts can be used for the 2018 election or must be altered again (all times local):
Federal judges in North Carolina have critiqued arguments made by lawyers for Republican lawmakers and for voters over whether redrawn state legislative districts can be used in the 2018 elections.
The three-judge panel held a hearing Thursday in Greensboro on the new House and Senate boundaries, and whether they cure problems that the judges cited last year while declaring 28 districts illegal racial gerrymanders. The panel listened to more than three hours of arguments but didn’t immediately rule.
GOP legislative leaders say they specifically avoided racial data when drawing the latest maps, but U.S. Circuit Judge Jim Wynn questioned how that’s possible given the outside expert who helped draw the boundaries is the same person who drew the previous maps in 2011.
Lawyers for the voters who successfully sued over the earlier maps argue there are still problems with a dozen districts.
Federal judges who struck down North Carolina legislative districts for illegal racial bias are holding court before ruling whether new boundaries approved by Republicans over the summer fixed or retained the problem.
A three-judge panel is scheduled to meet Thursday in Greensboro with lawyers for legislative leaders and voters as it decides if the General Assembly’s redistricting must be performed again. The judges also could sign off on the boundaries for the 2018 elections.
The Republican-controlled legislature approved new maps in August because the judges struck down nearly 30 districts drawn in 2011 as illegal racial gerrymanders.
Lawyers for GOP leaders say problems with race have been cured with the new boundaries. But attorneys for the voters who initially sued over the 2011 maps still find fault with 12 districts.