Case Summary

In June 2017, the U.S Supreme Court upheld a lower federal court's finding that North Carolina's state legislative maps enacted in 2011 were unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered. On November 13, 2018, the newly drawn North Carolina state legislative maps were challenged in court by eligible N.C. voters in the state along with Common Cause and the North Carolina Democratic Party. The plaintiffs argued that the 2017 maps were a partisan gerrymander in violation of the North Carolina Constitution's Equal Protection Clause, Free Elections Clause, and the Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly clauses. The plaintiffs sought a court order that the maps were unconstitutional, an injunction barring the maps from being used, and to have the maps redrawn prior to the next election.

Defendants initially removed the case to federal district court in December of 2018, but the district court remanded the case back to North Carolina state court on January 2, 2019. Following a trial, the state court struck down the 2017 maps and ordered the N.C. General Assembly to draw remedial maps by September 19, 2019, which were approved by the court on October 28. Plaintiffs attempted to have the N.C. Supreme Court perform an expedited appeal of the remedial maps on the grounds certain districts remained partisan gerrymanders, but the Court declined the motion. The plaintiffs thereafter dropped their appeal, allowing the remedial maps to be used for the 2020 election.

On April 16, 2020, the Fourth Circuit ruled on the parties' limited appeal of the district court's January 2019 decision, upholding the district court's grant of remand and denying the plaintiffs' fees.

Case Library

North Carolina Superior Court, Wake County - 18-cv-014001

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina - 5:18-cv-00589

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit - 19-1091

Supreme Court of North Carolina - 417P19