FEDERAL COURT APPOINTS FOR SPECIAL MASTER IN RACIAL GERRYMANDER CASE, AS REQUESTED BY NC NAACP
Durham – Earlier this month, NC NAACP requested that the federal three-judge panel overseeing the remedy for the General Assembly’s egregious 2011 racial gerrymander of legislative districts in Covington v. North Carolina appoint an independent special master to assist the court in ensuring fair maps to govern state legislative elections in 2018. Today, the panel announced its intent to appoint a special master and identified Stanford Law School Professor Nathaniel Persily as the likely appointee.
Newly elected NC NAACP President Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, said, “NC NAACP has made it clear that we will not rest until we ensure that the voices of the people who have been directly affected by this egregious discrimination are fully present in the courtrooms, in the streets, and at the ballot box! For years, our organization and the movement we serve has stood for the right of all people in NC to participate in free and fair elections. We are pleased that the Court intends to appoint a special master to provide necessary, unbiased guidance, and cure the racially discriminatory maps created by the extremist-controlled legislature.”
In the order released today, the panel expressed concern that the remedial maps proposed by the General Assembly last month “either fail to remedy the identified constitutional violation or are otherwise legally unacceptable.” In the amicus brief filed with the Court earlier this month, the NC NAACP argued that the General Assembly’s remedial maps remained tainted with race discrimination and did not pass constitutional muster. Read the Amicus Brief we filed with the Court.
“The people of North Carolina have now voted under unconstitutional and illegally-drawn election maps for more than half a decade,” said Dr. Spearman. “The legislature has shamefully spent more than $4 million defending these unconstitutional maps, while cutting that amount from the textbook and supplies budget of our schools. When given an opportunity to remedy its racial gerrymander, the leadership of the General Assembly squandered it. Now the Court must appoint a special master do the very task we elect and pay our legislators to do– draw maps that are unbiased, non-discriminatory, and create a democracy of the People, by the People, and for the People.”