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Federal Judge Says Gerrymander Case Stays In NC State Court

Erik (HASH) Hersman

RALEIGH — A judge has quickly dismissed an effort by Republican leaders at the North Carolina legislature to move a lawsuit challenging the congressional map they drew in 2016 from state court to federal court.

U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan ordered Tuesday that the partisan gerrymandering case be returned to Wake County Superior Court, where the litigation was originally filed last month.

Flanagan rejected the arguments of the lawmakers who wrote last week the venue change was necessary because a new map would conflict state redistricting rules with the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act. Flanagan called those arguments speculative. She also wrote a recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion which found partisan gerrymandering matters beyond the reach of federal courts.

State judges already had a set a case hearing for Thursday.