This is an open question to the attorneys and others involved in challenging North Carolina's legislative and Congressional districts. Why not challenge the foundation of partisan redistricting as violating the fundamental principles of democracy and equality ... not limited to issues of race?
It's my understanding that the legal arguments have been constructed around racial discrimination, relying on historical precedent (which was undermined by the US Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act). That's fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't go nearly far enough. As happened in Texas, Republicans in North Carolina have set out to increase their electoral strength through gerrymandering. Yes, it's a long-standing practice of corruption, but that doesn't make it any less despicable.
The North Carolina Supreme Court sided Friday with legislative leaders who withheld emails and other documents between them and state-funded private attorneys about redistricting maps approved in 2011, ruling that those documents can be confidential. Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, who was chairman of the House Redistricting Committee when the maps were drawn, praised the ruling Friday. "It's very important for individuals to have the common-law right afforded to them of being able to have confidential communications with their attorneys," he said.
Pay attention, Einstein: as a taxpayer, I paid those attorneys, making me the client, and I want to see those damn e-mails. By withholding those e-mails from me and my fellow taxpayers, you're not only concealing your apparently questionable behavior, you're also violating our attorney-client privileges.
Submitted by Martha Brock on Wed, 11/02/2011 - 3:53am
Senator Stein's (D-Wake) Statement re DOJ Preclearance of NC Redistricting Maps, 11-01-2011:
"Make no mistake: Nothing that happened in Washington, DC today changes the unlawful and racially divisive maps that the Republicans passed in the North Carolina legislature. The Department of Justice examined a very narrow federal issue that concerns only 40 of our 100 counties.
The Republican maps still violate the state constitution's whole county provision and they illegally segregate voters according to race without cause. The Department of Justice did not consider either violation during its pre clearance review, because it was not authorized to.
These and other violations will be fully considered by the courts, and we are quite confident that once the facts are in full view, the courts will guarantee the people of North Carolina fair and legal maps at the end of this process."
The North Carolina League of Conservation Voters sees more than a dozen instances in which two conservation-friendly lawmakers would be drawn into the same legislative district. Dan Crawford, director of governmental relations with the League, says that means at least one of them would not be returning in the next election year.
Makes perfect sense. When you're determined to do something that you know is wrong, and that would piss off most of your constituents if they truly understood what you're doing, the safest thing to do is get rid of those who would debate you.
Woodcox stressed that people can talk about any of the maps at any of the meetings. “There’s a misconception out there that after today, you can’t talk about the VRA maps. Of course you still can. We’re not going to cut you off.”
Why, thank you, Brent. I will talk about it. I've seen one of your bullshit maps, the one where you used a scalpel to follow down a specific street, so you could put two of the smartest, most effective, ethical and dedicated ladies (Pricey Harrison and Maggie Jeffus), that have ever walked the halls of the General Assembly, into the same District. You're not punishing the Democratic Party, you're punishing the entire state, by pulling the chair out from under our best lawmakers. That ain't good government, it's aspiring to mediocrity.
Tucked into a corner of the budget is this little gem: Republican budget writers slipped a provision into the budget moving the authority to seek approval for VRA pre-clearance of the new maps from Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) to a GOP-controlled legislative study committee. This way, the GOP can pick the venue for VRA pre-clearance of the redistricting plans.
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