US Supreme Court Issues Partial Stay on Special Master Legislative Maps
Tuesday evening, the US Supreme Court issued a partial stay of the special master’s proposed districts that had recently been accepted by a 3-Judge Federal panel. For context, following Federal courts rulings finding 28 legislative districts were the result of unconstitutional racial gerrymandering, the NC General Assembly redrew legislative districts in August of 2017. The 3-Judge Federal panel overseeing the case reviewed the newly re-drawn districts and ultimately ruled that some districts were not redrawn to sufficiently remedy the initial racial issues, while other districts, NC House districts in Wake and Mecklenburg counties, were re-drawn unnecessarily and were in violation of the state constitution’s prohibition on mid-decade redistricting. To put a fine point on it, this recent litigation centered on two issues: persistent unconstitutional racial gerrymandering issues, and state constitutional violations on mi-decade redistricting. The 3-Judge Federal panel appointed a special master to offer alternative maps to correct the deficiencies they identified in the August 2017 version of the legislative districts, which the court recently accepted. The Republican-led General Assembly then asked the US Supreme Court to stay (i.e. temporarily block) the special master’s districts from being used for the 2018 election while a substantive appeal proceeded. This evening, the US Supreme Court issued a partial stay, temporarily blocking the use of districts drawn by the special master in Wake and Mecklenburg counties, but allowing all others to be used in the 2018 election.
Based on our understanding of the decision this evening, below are the districts that the special master re-drew, either substantively or simply because a district shared a border with a district needing to be altered.
NC Senate (5 Districts)
District 19 (Cumberland)
  •  Sen. Wesley Meredith (R)
District 21 (Hoke, Cumberland)
  • Sen. Ben Clark (D)
District 24 (Alamance, Guilford)
  • Sen. Rick Gunn (R)
District 27 (Guilford)
  • Sen. Trudy Wade (R) & Sen. Gladys Robinson (D)
District 28 (Guilford)
  • Sen. Gladys Robinson (D) [Sen. Robinson lived in District 27 when the lines were drawn, but has since moved to this district]
NC House (6 Districts)
District 21 (Sampson, Wayne)
  • Rep. Larry Bell (D)
District 22 (Sampson, Bladen)
  • Rep. William Brisson (R) [he switched parties late last year]
District 57 (Guilford)
  • Rep. John Blust (R) [Rep. Blust currently represents House District 62]
District 59 (Guilford)
  • Rep. Jon Hardister (R)
District 61 (Guilford)
  • Rep. Pricey Harrison (D) [Rep. Harrison currently represents House District 57]
District 62 (Guilford)
  • Rep. John Faircloth (R) [Rep. Faircloth currently represents House District 61]
The list below details the NC House districts in Wake and Mecklenburg counties that the special master redrew in some fashion. The special master’s proposal for these districts was blocked Tuesday evening and the version of these districts drawn by the General Assembly in August of 2017 will be used for the 2018 election.
NC House (15 Districts)
District 11 (Wake)
  • Rep. Duane Hall (D)
District 33 (Wake)
  • Rep. Rosa Gill (D)
District 34 (Wake)
  • Rep. Grier Martin (D)
District 35 (Wake)
  • Rep. Chris Malone (R)
District 36 (Wake)
  • Rep. Nelson Dollar (R)
District 37 (Wake)
  • Rep. Linda Hunt Williams (R)
District 38 (Wake)
  • Rep. Yvonne Holley (D)
District 39 (Wake)
  • Rep. Darren Jackson (D)
District 40 (Wake)
  • Rep. Joe John (D)
District 41 (Wake)
  • Rep. Gale Adock (D)
District 49 (Wake)
  • Rep. Cynthia Ball (D)
District 92 (Mecklenburg)
  • Rep. Chaz Beasley (D)
District 103 (Mecklenburg)
  • Rep. Bill Brawley (R)
District 104 (Mecklenburg)
  • Rep. Andy Dulin (R)
District 105 (Mecklenburg)
  • Rep. Scott Stone (R)
So, in summary, tonight’s order by the US Supreme Court is a split decision. The plaintiffs get a partial victory on remedying racial gerrymandering, but they will not see all of the special master’s proposed districts – which they favored over the General Assembly drawn versions – be used for the 2018 election. As additional information, insight, and analysis is available, the NC FreeEnteprrise Foundation will work to aggregate, breakdown, and share it. Below are a few articles with additional information and reaction.

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