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Harper v. Lewis

Fourteen North Carolina voters have filed a lawsuit in state court challenging North Carolina’s current congressional map on partisan gerrymandering grounds.

Last Updated: December 2, 2019
Published: September 27, 2019

Note: The Bren­nan Center is not a parti­cipant in this case.

Four­teen North Caro­lina voters have filed a lawsuit in state court chal­len­ging North Caro­lin­a’s current congres­sional map on partisan gerry­man­der­ing grounds. The map in ques­tion was redrawn in 2016 after the federal courts—in Harris v. McCrory— inval­id­ated the prior plan for racial gerry­man­der­ing. The 2016 map, argue plaintiffs, was drawn with express intent to maxim­ize and entrench Repub­lican party advant­age in the state’s congres­sional deleg­a­tion. The plaintiffs contend that the 2016 remedial congres­sional map viol­ates several provi­sions of North Caro­lin­a’s consti­tu­tion: the Free Elec­tions Clause; the Equal Protec­tion Clause; and the Free­dom of Speech and Free­dom of Assembly Clauses.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to declare the map uncon­sti­tu­tional under the North Caro­lina Consti­tu­tion and to enjoin the state from using the current map in any further elec­tions. The plaintiffs are also asking the court to order the state to adopt a new plan that complies with the North Caro­lina Consti­tu­tion.

On Octo­ber 24, the state court gran­ted a motion to inter­vene filed by three Repub­lican members of the North Caro­lina congres­sional deleg­a­tion. On Octo­ber 28, the panel gran­ted the plaintiffs’ motion for prelim­in­ary injunc­tion, prevent­ing the use of the 2016 plan in upcom­ing elec­tions, pending the ulti­mate resol­u­tion of the lawsuit.

On Octo­ber 31, plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judg­ment. On Decem­ber 2, 2019, the panel lifted the prior prelim­in­ary injunc­tion, allow­ing the 2020 congres­sional elec­tion to proceed under a new plan passed by the General Assembly on Novem­ber 15.  


Wake County Super­ior Court

District Court