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NAACP threatens suit over Congressional redistricting plan

Posted July 7, 2011

— The state president of the NAACP told lawmakers drawing up a map for North Carolina Congressional districts Thursday, "We will meet you in court."

Rev. William Barber called the map, developed by the Republican majority to re-allocate voters based on 2010 Census data, "regressive" and "shameful" in comments at a public hearing. 

State House and Senate members took comments at nine hearing sites from Wilmington to Cullowhee Thursday on a map which reflects a population increase of 1.5 million people in the state since 2000.

Democratic speakers criticized the proposal as gerrymandering that would diminish the power of black voters. Barber and others say the plan violates the Federal Voting Rights Act by removing five counties – Gates, Washington, Beaufort, Craven and Wayne – from the 1st District, a seat currently held by Democrat G. K. Butterfield.

Former congressional candidate Steve Ivester said people in smaller cities like Hickory and Greenville also would suffer.

The GOP majority has the votes to pass the plan no matter the opposition.

Former GOP state Sen. Woody White of Wilmington praised lawmakers for a map he said would give southeastern voters the chance to elect a Republican for the first time in more than a century.

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  • unc70 Jul 8, 2011

    Obvious many never took NC History.

    The Repebs of 1896 have only the name in common with those today. They were overwhelming black, with a few reformers (liberals) like Gov. Russell. With the (mostly poor white farmer) Populists they united under the Fusion label.

    When the rich and powerful regained control, they disenfranchised nearly all blacks and tried to prevent blacks and poor whites from uniting again.

    The Dem party from 1900 on until 1960 was not "liberal", its two dominate groups being the business no-taxes faction and the social conservatives, with a much smaller populist segment. It had few blacks.

    The modern Repub party in NC was formed from the Dixiecrat faction of the Dem Party lead by Jesse Helms. The small number of old-style Repubs slowly drifted away, no longer a moderating influence.

    When you focus on labels, Dem v Repub, us v them, black v white, it have trouble seeing the larger story.

    "Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great"

  • Roys_Boys1 Jul 8, 2011

    This is laughable. The Democrats have dominated the General Assembly for over 100 years and controlled the redistricting every decade and now the Republicans are in charge and they just can't handle it. Actually, the Republicans could've made the Congressional map even more favorable if they wanted...only 3 of the 13 districts have more registered Republicans than Democrats. As a northern Durham resident, I have had to deal with Congressman David Price forever, and now finally those of us in northern Durham County (the only conservative part of Durham) will actually have a voice by being in District 13, instead of District 4.

  • gunny462 Jul 8, 2011

    Where were they 10 years ago when Brady changed a district so he could win it?

  • BigfootBeliever Jul 8, 2011

    unc70, While your statements regarding previous cycles may be accurate, you have completely ignored the obvious reason that many of us criticize Barber and today's NAACP. If this was a isolated incident where the NAACP felt that a law suit was necessary, then there would be little to discuss. However, it has become the "modus operandi" for the Barber and the NAACP. They waste thousands on legal battles that could be utilized to correct problems in the black community. They promote civil disobedience by demonstrating and being incarcerated. Great example for the black young, by the way.

  • burlharley Jul 8, 2011

    I hope they sue. The suit will be almost undoubtedly be thrown out. The GA has adhered to the VRA laws and such a mockery in our courts will serve to further humiliate the NC NAACP, which is more than they deserve. As well, when this happens, you can bet that Barber and his band of clowns will call the court racist too.

  • ncpilot2 Jul 8, 2011

    Where was NAACP in protecting the rights of the people when the Congressional districts favored all liberals for almost 100 years?

  • unc70 Jul 8, 2011

    Those of you making fun of Barber and criticizing the NAACP for considering a lawsuit need to review what happened in previous cycles. Every cycle there are lots of lawsuits, mostly brought by Repubs.

    While Dems have mostly drawn the maps, their plans need approval from Repub controlled DOJ and Fed courts and were subject lots of challenges in NC and Fed courts. The 1990 cycle took 10 years including multiple sessions of the legislature, multiple versions, and all the lawsuits, I believe three went to the SC. Last time, it took six years.

    You have Repubs suing to have more districts with black majorities by the largest majority possible. Dems tried to draw those districts with the smallest majority that a GOP DOJ would approve. While it is really about Dem vs Rep voters and nearly all blacks being Dems, by focusing on this so much it allows the GOP to push the meme that blacks and the NAACP are the culprits.

    In this mess, everyone is to blame.

  • shoutntime Jul 8, 2011

    Why doesn't this surprise me? I think the NAACP should be responsible for all the cost everytime they lose one of these wasteful, useless lawsuits.

  • hpr641 Jul 8, 2011

    I feel real smart - I've looked at Butterfield and concluded he was clearly white. However, though both his parents had some white ancestors he actually was raised "in a prominent black family in Wilson" ... with a father from Bermuda. Apologies if anyone was offended.

  • hpr641 Jul 8, 2011

    "Gerrymandering"??? Take an honest look at the existing map (drawn up by Democrats) and compare it to the proposed map. The changes are pretty minor considering the population growth over the last 10 years.

    "Diminish the power of black voters"??? What, is each of their votes suddenly only going to count as 3/5 of a vote? Seriously, even the dragon-shaped 12th is being kept as a black minority-majority district.

    "Barber and others say the plan violates the Federal Voting Rights Act by removing five counties – Gates, Washington, Beaufort, Craven and Wayne – from the 1st District, a seat currently held by Democrat G. K. Butterfield." Uhhh ... they do realize that Butterfield is WHITE ... right? They're going from being in a district with an incumbent who's a white man to one where the incumbent is a white man. Any further proof needed for the NAACP essentially being an arm of the Democratic party?

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