NC Capitol

NC Capitol

Lawmakers seek stay on new map order

Posted January 11, 2018 10:48 a.m. EST
Updated January 12, 2018 12:45 p.m. EST

— North Carolina legislative leaders are asking the courts to stay a three-judge federal panel's order requiring a new congressional district map to be enacted by Jan. 24 while also appointing a special master to draw an alternative map.

In the motion filed Thursday, legislators' attorney Phil Strach argues that the ruling is likely to be overturned on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is already considering a Wisconsin case that also questions the constitutionality of drawing voting districts to maximize partisan advantage.

Strach also argues that the timeline for new maps required by the court in its Tuesday order is too tight to allow sufficient review and would overlap with candidate filing for the 2018 election, which begins Feb. 12. This, Strach warned, could cause "mass confusion" among candidates and voters.

The motion requested a ruling Thursday so that the defendants could request a stay from the Supreme Court, if needed. But when the three-judge panel gave the plaintiffs in the case until next Tuesday to respond, the lawmakers file a request for a stay directly with the Supreme Court on Friday.

That request goes to Chief Justice John Roberts, who oversees the 4th U.S. Circuit, which includes North Carolina.