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Federal Court Strikes Down NC Congressional Districts

U.S. Representative Alma Adams
U.S. Representative Alma Adams

Federal judges have struck down the maps of two congressional districts in North Carolina.

A three judge panel from the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia has ruled that the 1st and 12th U.S. House Districts in North Carolina are gerrymandered and must be redrawn. Both seats are held by African-American Democrats. - G.K. Butterfield in the 1st and Alma Adams in the 12th.

Two of the Republican state lawmakers who helped to draw the maps, released a joint statement. State Senator Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) and Representative David Lewis (R-Harnett), Chairmen of the House and Senate Redistricting Committees, released the following:
“We are surprised and disappointed by the trial court's eleventh hour decision that throws an election already underway into turmoil.  Should this decision be allowed to stand, North Carolina voters will no longer know how or when they will get to cast their primary ballots in the presidential, gubernatorial, congressional and legislative elections. And thousands of absentee voters may have already cast ballots that could be tossed out. This decision could do far more to disenfranchise North Carolina voters than anything alleged in this case. We are confident our state Supreme Court made the right decision when it upheld the maps drawn by the General Assembly and approved by the Obama Justice Department, and we will move swiftly to appeal this decision.”

North Carolina's 12th Congressional borders six other House boundaries. Each of those six (the 2nd, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th) is currently represented by a Republican in the U.S. House. If the maps are redrawn that means there would be more Democratic voters drawn into some - or all - of those districts.

The 1st Congressional includes parts of Durham, and stretches to the Albemarle Sound. It borders the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 13th Districts. Of the U.S. House members from those bordering seats, only David Price (NC-4) is a Democrat.

North Carolina has 13 members of the U.S. House. Currently there is a 10-3 Republican-Democrat split.

The judges gave lawmakers one week to redraw the maps. State lawmakers will appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Jeff Tiberii is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Jeff joined WUNC in 2011. During his 20 years in public radio, he was Morning Edition Host at WFDD and WUNC’s Greensboro Bureau Chief and later, the Capitol Bureau Chief. Jeff has covered state and federal politics, produced the radio documentary “Right Turn,” launched a podcast, and was named North Carolina Radio Reporter of the Year four times.
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