Local Politics

Court: N.C. House District Unconstitutional

Posted August 24, 2007

— State lawmakers must recast at least one House district after the state Supreme Court ruled Friday that the district was drawn unconstitutionally four years ago.

Redrawing House District 18 in Pender County could create a domino effect, however, requiring other legislative districts to be redrawn as well. Observers also said the ruling could impact how minority districts are drawn in a statewide redistricting that will follow the 2010 census.

The court split 4-2 in the decision, ruling along party lines, that Pender County should never have been split into two House districts in 2003. The justices ordered the district be redrawn, but said the process could wait until after the 2008 elections because the General Assembly won't convene again until next May, after the filing period for 2008 candidates has closed.

"We are cognizant that the General Assembly will need time to redistrict not only House District 18 but also other legislative districts directly and indirectly affected by this opinion," said the ruling, written by Associate Justice Robert Edmunds. "To minimize disruption to the ongoing election cycle, the remedy ... shall be stayed until after the 2008 election."

After twice having courts overturn legislative maps drawn after the 2000 census, lawmakers devised a map in 2003 that included splitting Pender County into two House districts because it didn't have the population to form its own district. District 18 was drawn to eate to include 42 percent minority voters by combining parts of Pender and New Hanover counties.

The District 18 seat is held by embattled Rep. Thomas Wright, a Wilmington Democrat under investigation by the State Board of Elections for possible campaign finance violations and by the State Bureau of Investigation in a fraud case.

Pender County officials sued over the redistricting, and the Supreme Court ruling announced Friday said it violated the state constitution's "whole county provision" that prohibits splitting counties to create legislative districts.

Chief Justice Sarah Parker and Associate Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson disagreed with the ruling, saying lawmakers correctly drew District 18 to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act.

"We recognize that, like the application or exercise of most constitutional rights, the right of the people of this state to legislative districts which do not divide counties is not absolute," Parker wrote in her dissent.


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  • blueridgerunner Aug 25, 2007

    This is racial politics. It's about Black politicians wanting to maintain power in the Black communities and Black voters who only trust Black politicians to represent them. It's racism at its finest. Democrat Thomas Wright is just one of the fine examples of the kind of representation produced from these racially political boundaries.

  • William Tell Aug 24, 2007

    race should not be a consideration in how districts are drawn.

  • mohnkae Aug 24, 2007

    "left-wing lunnies in Washington who WANT TO TELL THE ENEMY "WE SURRENDER---HERE IS OUR WITHDRAWAL DATE---NOW COME KILL US ALL B/C OF OUR OWN SMART LIBERAL THINKING"" Says napdog, shortly followed by:
    PLEASE---if you are going to talk politics with me you best have your facts straight!

    Just out of morbid curiosity which "left-wing lunnie" proposes we actually surrender and invite them here to kill us all?

  • patriotsrevenge Aug 24, 2007

    Typical right-wing Southern Baptist thinking! Napdog says liberals are "bad", so all of us should just sing kum bah ya into the voting booth and vote Republican. No thanks...I actually have a brain. Just for the record, I'm not a liberal I'm a moderate, I've voted for just as many Republicans as Democrats. Even though I often disagree with them I thank God for the ACLU, just because they help moderate the nutjob right-wingers.

  • napdog123 Aug 24, 2007

    Patriotsrevenge....you said and I quote "Liberal thinkers probably do way more to ensure true freedom"

    THAT IS THE FUNNIEST THING I'VE HEARD IN MY LIFE!!! So..just for the record your LIBERAL buddies are the ones that ensure freedom with all their wisdom!!?? hahahaha...laughable...I guess you get that from all those left-wing lunnies in Washington who WANT TO TELL THE ENEMY "WE SURRENDER---HERE IS OUR WITHDRAWAL DATE---NOW COME KILL US ALL B/C OF OUR OWN SMART LIBERAL THINKING"

    PLEASE---if you are going to talk politics with me you best have your facts straight!


  • The bozo Aug 24, 2007

    I am glad WRAL said the Wilmington Democrate. Good job.

  • patriotsrevenge Aug 24, 2007

    fair not "far"...sorry

  • patriotsrevenge Aug 24, 2007

    oh napdog, life must be nice in you little world. Republicans rule your world, and you're free to follow them and their Southern Baptist contributors without the hinderance of having to actually use your brain. Liberal thinkers probably do way more to ensure true freedom (for everyone, not just you)than any of your far right-wingers have ever dreamed of. Congressional districts will never be completely far, but I'm glad both sides fight to make them as fair as possible.

  • napdog123 Aug 24, 2007

    The Liberal Democrats have gotten away with the "zig-zagging district lines" for FAR TO LONG!!!! THANK GOD we have a majority of CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS on the North Carolina Supreme Court that still recognize we are a sovereign state. The disgrace is the two Liberal Justices voted in favor of Federal Government policy. Same old stuff LIBERAL DEMOCRATS=GOVERNMENT CONTROL

  • sglangley35 Aug 24, 2007

    The North Carolina Democratic party is corrupt...this is news? They've been that way for the last 150 years. When they stole the governors office from Jim Gardner by tapping his phone almost nothing was said about it and Jim Hunt skated...whats new?