On October 29, 2021, the North Carolina NAACP, Common Cause and several North Carolinian voters filed a lawsuit in a North Carolina superior court against the State of North Carolina, state legislative leaders, the chairs of the General Assembly's redistricting committees, and the North Carolina State Board of Elections and its members, challenging several aspects of the state's redistricting process as violating the state constitution. The plaintiffs' challenge centers around the General Assembly's decision to conduct a "race-blind" redistricting process, meaning they would not consider racial data when drawing or assessing districts nor would they conduct racially polarized voting analyses at any point in the process. The plaintiffs assert that the use of race-blind redistricting criteria, along with the State's failure to conduct any analysis that would prevent vote dilution for minority voters, constitutes intentional racial discrimination in violation of the N.C. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause (Art. I, Section 19), and that such actions will impede the plaintiffs' ability to affiliate with and support their candidates of choice in violation of the Plaintiffs' rights to assembly and association under the N.C. Constitution's Freedom of Assembly Clause (Art. I, Section 12). More broadly, the plaintiffs allege that the defendants' decision to conduct a race-blind redistricting process violates Article I, Section 3 and 5 of the N.C. Constitution because those provisions, as interpreted by the N.C. Supreme Court, require the State to conduct redistricting in accordance with federal constitutional and statutory requirements, including the 14th Amendment's one person, one vote requirements and the federal Voting Rights Act. The plaintiffs are seeking a declaratory judgment that the North Carolina General Assembly's race-blind redistricting process and related criteria violate the N.C. Constitution, an injunction barring the defendants from undertaking a redistricting process that fails to comply with the N.C. Constitution, an an injunction prohibiting the State Board of Elections from administering the 2022 Statewide Primary elections prior to May 3, 2022.
On December 3, 2021 the superior court issued an order denying the preliminary injunction and dismissing the case on the grounds the state's enactment of new congressional and legislative plans rendered the plaintiffs' claims moot. The plaintiffs appealed this decision to the North Carolina Supreme Court the same day. Two days later, the North Carolina Supreme Court also dismissed their claims as moot but noted that the plaintiffs-petitioners had a right to seek to intervene in the two challenges to the enacted redistricting plans then-pending in the state superior court, Harper v. Hall and N.C. League of Conservation Voters, Inc. v. Hall.
North Carolina Superior Court, Wake County - No. 21-cvs-14476
- Complaint - 10/29/21
- Motion for Preliminary Injunction - 10/29/21
- Legislative Defendants' Motion to Dismiss - 11/10/21
- Order Denying Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Granting Motion to Dismiss - 12/3/21
- Plaintiffs' Notice of Appeal - 12/6/21
North Carolina Supreme Court - No. 416P21