NC Republicans seek to redraw judicial maps

Posted June 26

— Republicans released a redraw of the state's judicial and prosecutorial districts Sunday evening, setting up a committee hearing Monday afternoon on a potential overhaul of the state's third branch of government.

Gov. Roy Cooper, during a budget press conference, said he needed to review the legislation but said it appears an attempt to "rig the courts" in favor of the GOP legislative majority.

"What I've heard simply tells me they're trying to rig the courts because they lost," Cooper said. "This is an attempt to threaten the judiciary and to rig the judiciary in their favor."

House Bill 717 is 21 pages of detailed precinct movements to rework judicial lines in the state. Maps tweeted Sunday night by state Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanly, the bill sponsor, show a number of changes from the status quo.

Peg Dorer, director of the Conference of District Attorneys, said the new districts would eliminate two district attorneys – one covering Scotland and Hoke counties and another for Anson and Richmond – ceding their area to other districts. It makes changes to seven prosecutorial districts overall, Dorer said.

"They're pairing some things up and moving some things around that is going to cause a lot of hardship," she said. "It's just a mess.

"And, if you want to get political about it, all of the losers are Democrats," Dorer said.

On Twitter, Democracy North Carolina called the bill a "gerrymander" that merges maps "for conservative control." State Rep. Grier Martin, D-Wake, said in a telephone interview that the bill seems to be part of "the same effort to bend the government of North Carolina toward the will of the Republican Party."

Martin said he received a "stat pack" with racial and partisan breakdowns of the changes at about 9:30 a.m. Monday and that he would review the crucial information in analyzing the changes. The timing – a new map released in what may be the last week of this legislative session, by a GOP majority whose congressional and legislative maps have been found unconstitutional by the federal courts – is disturbing, Martin said.

"Utter lack of transparency," he said.

One of the proposed maps:

Proposed Superior Court district map

The current map:

Existing Superior Court district map


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  • Mary Jo Holmes Jun 27, 3:07 p.m.
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    Justin Burr stirring up trouble again. I guess when you are not a lawyer and only a bail bondsman you have to prove something.

  • D. Aaron Hill Jun 27, 1:00 p.m.
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    Does it make you feel better to make such a comment? Does it help justify it in your mind when you know it's wrong?

  • Nicolle Leney Jun 26, 5:57 p.m.
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    There are many of us who think redistricting should not favor EITHER party. I'm unaffiliated, as are many other North Carolinians. I've voted both parties. BOTH parties have been guilty of gerrymandering at various times. We should not be allowing either political party to SOLELY determine districts for a state. Of course they are going to give themselves an advantage!

    The GOP feels the need to further politicize our courts. The main reason they gave for making the judicial non-partisan races partisan was to "make it easier on the voter." Because apparently voters are too stupid or lazy to learn anything about candidates beyond party BEFORE they vote (GOP claims Morgan won the NC Supreme Court seat because too many people thought he was a Republican, literally not making this up). Making the judicial races partisan will guarantee our courts will be MORE partisan.

  • John Archer Jun 26, 5:39 p.m.
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    It needs to be an INDEPENDENT commission! How is this so hard for everyone to understand? Call your reps and senators and demand it! Get involved, more than just complaining on a news article comment thread!

  • Thomas Williams Jun 26, 4:55 p.m.
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    I bet it was all well and good with you when the Democrats were at the drawing board.

  • Ken Ackerman Jun 26, 2:57 p.m.
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    This is their goal...


  • D. Aaron Hill Jun 26, 2:24 p.m.
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    and the power grab moves along unabated

  • Nicolle Leney Jun 26, 2:20 p.m.
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    I don't understand. What is their reasoning for even doing this now? They have maps that the courts are REQUIRING them to redraw but THIS is the priority?? Am I missing something???

  • John Archer Jun 26, 12:55 p.m.
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    There should be a Federal law that Congressional maps are required to be drawn by an independent commission. Allowing the fox to guard the hen house is nonsense!

  • Raleigh Rose Jun 26, 11:46 a.m.
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    Because they've been so successful in other maps they've drawn?