North Carolina Redistricting Hearing Enters Second Week

North Carolina Redistricting Hearing Enters Second Week

8:51am Jul 22, 2019
Judge Paul C. Ridgeway makes comments as a three-judge panel of the Wake County Superior Court presides over the trial of Common Cause, et al v. Lewis, et al at the Campbell University School of Law in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, July 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

A closely watched North Carolina court battle over the state’s political boundaries has wrapped up its first week of testimony. Normally a state-level case on redistricting wouldn’t get too much national attention. But this is considered an important test case, coming on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last month to kick nonpartisan gerrymandering matters back to the state level.

Democrats and the group Common Cause want judges to order 2017 House and Senate maps be redrawn for next year’s election.

The first week of testimony focused on uncovered computer files of deceased Republican mapmaker Thomas Hoffeler. Challengers of North Carolina’s legislative districts say the documents show how GOP lawmakers approved boundary lines with illegal political bias.

Chris Cooper, a professor at Western Carolina University, testified that Hoffeler’s maps show partisanship was "front and center," with lines benefiting one party at another's expense.

Attorneys for GOP lawmakers say the lines were lawfully drawn and question how judges could evaluate political fairness. They'll also present evidence in the trial, which is expected to last another week.


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