RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge on Friday ruled that North Carolina’s 1st and 12th congressional districts are racial gerrymanders and must be redrawn in a week.
An order, written by U.S. Circuit Judge Roger L. Gregory, also bars elections in the 1st and 12th congressional districts until new maps are approved, the News & Observer reports.
The ruling comes more than two years after a lawsuit was filed seeking an invalidation of the two districts.
North Carolina’s 1st congressional district is located mostly in the northeastern part of the state.
North Carolina’s 12th congressional district weaves along Interstate 85 from Charlotte up to Greensboro and also includes portions of Winston-Salem.
“A person traveling on Interstate 85 between the two cities would exit the district multiple times, as the district’s boundaries zig and zag to encircle African-American communities, ” the federal lawsuit contended, according to the News & Observer.
12th congressional district Rep. Alma Adams released the following statement on the decision:
“We don’t know what the impacts of this decision will be yet, but for now I am concentrating on doing my job as the Congresswoman for the 12th district, and running a campaign on the basis of my strong record of doing what is right for North Carolina and my district.”
Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) and Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), chairmen of the House and Senate Redistricting Committees, released the following joint statement Friday evening:
“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.”
The North Carolina Democratic Party released the following statement Friday evening:
“Today’s decision marks an important step towards ensuring the integrity of North Carolina’s democratic process. It’s clear that Republicans in Raleigh have sought to suppress the vote of those with whom they disagree and rig the electoral process through partisan gerrymandering. This decision is welcome news that should begin to restore basic fairness to North Carolina’s congressional elections.”