Common Cause joins NC redistricting case to challenge gerrymandered maps’ impact on Black voters
UPDATE: On Dec. 15, the Wake County Superior Court granted Common Cause’s motion to intervene in North Carolina League of Conservation Voters et al. and Harper et al. v. Hall.
RALEIGH – Voting rights group Common Cause moved to intervene on Monday in North Carolina’s consolidated redistricting lawsuit, North Carolina League of Conservation Voters et al. and Harper et al. v. Hall. The Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) and pro bono counsel from Hogan Lovells filed the motion in Wake County Superior Court on behalf of Common Cause.
In the complaint, Common Cause is seeking to renew its earlier challenges from the state’s first redistricting lawsuit, NC NAACP v. Berger, which was filed before final maps were passed and alleged that the North Carolina Legislature’s process for drawing state legislative and Congressional voting maps ignored long-standing precedent and resulted in extreme partisan gerrymanders in violation of the North Carolina State Constitution. The motion to intervene now challenges the Legislature’s maps themselves, alleging that state legislators crafted illegal partisan gerrymanders with devastating consequences for Black voters and their ability to elect the candidates of their choice.
“We believe the Legislature’s redistricting process not only created an unfair partisan advantage, but resulted in maps that decimate representation for our state’s Black communities,” said Hilary Harris Klein, Voting Rights Counsel with SCSJ. “We look forward to making our case to the three-judge panel and ensuring all voices are heard in our collective fight for fair, equitable, and constitutional maps in North Carolina.”
Bob Phillips, Executive Director of state Common Cause affiliate Common Cause NC called the legislative and Congressional districts “extreme gerrymanders,” and says the expedited lawsuit is necessary to avoid another decade of distorted North Carolina voting maps.
“Throughout this year’s redistricting process, we and residents across the state called on lawmakers to follow the law and put the people of North Carolina above partisan politics. Instead, politicians in the legislature brazenly ignored the law, crafting extreme gerrymanders for their own power at the expense of free and fair elections,” said Bob Phillips, Executive Director of Common Cause NC. “Our state’s voting districts don’t belong to politicians, they belong to the people. We can’t allow our state to suffer for yet another decade under illegal maps. We must stand up and demand fair voting districts that follow the constitution, are free from gerrymandering and respect every voter’s right to have a voice in choosing their representatives. We are confident that the people of North Carolina will prevail.”
On December 8, the North Carolina Supreme Court ordered a trial for parties involved in League of Conservation Voters v. Hall and delayed the state’s primary elections from March 8, 2022 to May 17, 2022. The state Supreme Court has ordered the three-judge panel to provide a decision no later than January 11, 2022.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, founded in 2007, partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the South to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights through the combination of legal advocacy, research, organizing, and communications.
Global law firm Hogan Lovells has a long tradition of supporting ground-breaking social developments, focusing on access to justice and the rule of law. As lawyers we recognize this commitment is part of our professional practice and collectively we spend 150,000+ pro bono hours per year on work to achieve lasting impact for others.
Bryan Warner, BWarner@commoncause.org, 919-836-0027; Common Cause NC
Sailor Jones, firstname.lastname@example.org, 919-260-5906; SCSJ
Gino Nuzzolillo, email@example.com, 402-415-4763; SCSJ
Ritchenya A. Dodd, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-918-6155; Hogan Lovells