Raleigh, N.C. — State NAACP President Rev. William Barber called on legislators Tuesday to "cease and desist" from passing additional legislation until districts ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court can be redrawn and new elections held.
Barber repeatedly cited the unanimous ruling, unusual in gerrymandering cases, to urge lawmakers to redraw the maps immediately.
"Currently, we have an unconstitutionally constituted, illegal body leading our state legislature, and it has become evident that they are more entrenched than they ever were," Barber said at a news conference in front of the Legislative Building.
"They’re not in office because they won the election. They’re in office, according to the courts, because they cheated, and they used racial methods to cheat. And then, with illegal power, they have passed bills that have hurt all North Carolinians," Barber said. "They used that power – illegal power – to pass the worst voter suppression law that we saw in the nation, and the courts overturned that, too."
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger's spokeswoman, Amy Auth, said there's no precedent for lawmakers to abandon their work.
"The courts have rejected maps drawn by both Democrat and Republican-controlled legislatures in multiple instances over the past few decades, including maps drawn by former Redistricting Chair Roy Cooper," Auth said in a statement. "Just like those legislatures, we will not abandon our constitutional duties as we await specific instruction from the courts, and we will continue to focus on passing a balanced state budget that raises teacher pay, provides relief to the communities affected by Hurricane Matthew and puts money back into the pockets of middle-class families."