RALEIGH, N.C. — Federal judges on Friday approved the court-appointed expert’s map that made changes to two dozen North Carolina legislative districts. The three-judge panel agreed that the GOP drawn maps didn’t fully remove previous illegal racial bias.
The judges’ order approved the map of special master Nathaniel Persily of Stanford University and directed N.C. lawmakers to incorporate them in the unchallenged parts of Senate and House plans approved last August. The updated maps must be used in this November’s election. Candidate filing begins Feb. 12.
The judges “find no deficiencies in — and instead, many marked improvements over — the related districts in the 2017 plan,” the judges wrote, adding later: “We direct the defendants to implement the special master’s recommended plans.”
Republican legislative leaders said they would appeal the order to the U.S. Supreme Court and block Persily’s plan. They argued their maps were lawful and criticized the judges for hiring a special master instead of allowing them another shot at redrawing. The judges said the legislature wasn’t entitled to another opportunity.
Friday’s ruling came a day after the U.S. Supreme Court delayed the order by Wynn and two other judges directing the legislature to approve a new congressional map by next week.