Raleigh, N.C. — Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanly, said Wednesday that his push to redraw North Carolina judicial districts is "still in the works."
Burr, who surprised the state's judiciary in the last week of session by proposing a complete redraw of judicial maps, said he's traveling the state, talking to judges and district attorneys about the plan. He said this outreach is "in the early stages," and his maps haven't changed from what he initially proposed.
Democrats pushed back hard against Burr's proposal during session, saying he was attempting to rig the judiciary by drawing lines that would help elect Republican judges. The legislature, controlled by a GOP majority, recently voted to make judicial elections partisan affairs.
Burr said he's trying to correct a long-standing imbalance that favors Democrats via maps drawn piecemeal over the years. He said the result is a hodge-podge of unbalanced lines, including a situation in Mecklenburg County that allows half the county's population to elect five of its seven judges. The other half elects just two, he said.
"This is about making good policy," Burr said.
Asked why he didn't loop judges and prosecutors into his process early on, instead of surprising them with already drawn maps, Burr said it's because they would have fought him. With a map in hand, the debate is about tweaking the map, not about blocking change outright, he said.
"I've seen this play before," said Burr, who has pushed, sometimes successfully, for smaller judicial redraws in the past. "It's no longer, 'How do we kill this?'"