The first lawsuit challenging the new GOP-penned redistricting maps will be filed Friday in Wake County Superior Court.
The state chapter of the NAACP is filing the suit. Other groups involved include the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, the League of Women Voters, Democracy NC, and the A. Philip Randolph Foundation.
Defendants will include House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, along with the state of North Carolina and the State Board of Elections.
In a news release this afternoon, the NAACP calls the maps a “cleverly disguised race-based scheme,” intended to “resegregate minority voters.”
"[Legislative leaders] paid good taxpayer money to outside consultants to develop a scheme to resegregate minority voters and dilute our voting power," the release says.
"These consultants know that blatant Jim Crow acts are illegal, so they came up with their James Crow schemes instead. Jim Crow used blunt tools. James Crow uses surgical tools to cut out the heart of black political power. James Crow uses high-tech, clever consultants to pick apart black communities block by block and increase the prosperity of a few Americans by trying to divide, segregate, and fool the rest of us," said the statement.
House Redistricting Chairman David Lewis (R-Harnett) said this morning he was expecting a suit from the NAACP. President William Barber had threatened one before the maps were even voted on. Lewis says he's confident the new maps will be upheld by the courts and in place for the 2012 elections.
The state’s Democratic Party is expected to file a second suit in the coming weeks. A party source says that suit “is going to be a coalition lawsuit -Democrats, Republicans, independents, civic groups and community groups.”
The US Department of Justice announced last night it would not oppose the maps under the Voting Rights Act. But that’s a narrowly focused review, and it doesn’t preclude other legal challenges from other parties.