The state of North Carolina must pay over $102,000 to the winning side in a recent legislative redistricting case and the outside expert who helped analyze redrawn district lines, state judges have ruled.
A three-judge panel directed the bill to legislative leaders who were sued by Common Cause, the state Democratic Party and Democratic voters. The court in September threw out dozens of state House and Senate districts drawn in 2017, saying Republicans fashioned them with extreme partisan bias designed to keep the GOP in power. The legislature approved new maps about two weeks later.
Wednesday's order says about $69,000 in taxpayer money will go to the plaintiffs' attorneys to recoup expenses for conducting depositions and to pay their expert witnesses for the lawsuit's July trial. The rest will go to Stanford University law professor Nathaniel Persily, whom the judges hired to review the replacement maps. Courts sometimes hire "referees" like Persily in redistricting cases to help evaluate whether district boundaries comply with state and federal law.
The Sept. 3 decision marked the first major partisan gerrymandering ruling since the U.S. Supreme Court declared federal judges had no business deciding cases about political gerrymandering. But it also said state courts could address the issue.