At a spirited hearing Monday, Republican lawmakers in North Carolina made a last-minute plea to keep in place two congressional districts that were recently struck down in federal court for racial gerrymandering.
Lawmakers spoke to voters at five locations throughout the state via teleconference, saying that they would do everything possible to see that the current districts remain in place. As per the recent ruling, they must be redrawn by Friday. As first reported by The News & Observer, an appeal to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts for a stay has become unlikely because lawmakers were counting on the support of recently-deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, whose history of siding with conservatives on social issues has been well documented through the years.
“This is the way it’s been,” former GOP Rep. Robin Hayes insisted from the video conference in Mecklenburg County. “If you’re in the majority after census, you draw the maps.”
Vanderbilt University Law School’s Kareem Crayton, an election law specialist, told The Charlotte Observer that lawmakers’ hopes to overturn the federal court’s ruling was dashed by the death of Scalia.
“Bottom line: It appears the proverbial bill for this prolonged and delayed legal fight has now come due for the General Assembly,” Crayton explained. “The short timeline makes it now pretty certain that they will have to draw a map that helps set things right.”