GOP Says Not Enough Time To Hold Special 2017 Election

Jun 14, 2017

North Carolina
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North Carolina's Republican lawmakers have told the U.S. Supreme Court there's not enough time to hold a special election this fall with new General Assembly districts. 

They furthermore add that it could be an "enormously misguided" remedy if judges were to order one.

An attorney for the GOP lawmakers made the statement in a legal brief requested by Chief Justice John Roberts. 

After the nation's highest court last week upheld a lower court ruling that threw out 28 House and Senate districts as unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered, voters who sued asked the justices to return the case to a lower court more quickly than normal.

The voters and their Democratic allies still believe there's time for a three-judge panel to force GOP legislators to redraw the maps immediately and hold 2017 elections. Republican lawmakers prefer holding the first elections with new maps during the next regularly scheduled state election in November 2018.

Paul Clement, representing the GOP leaders, said the case should be sent back to Greensboro federal court after the routine 25 days. Sending it back immediately could be seized upon to justify elections this fall when doing so could make an already complicated situation worse, Clement wrote.

"Granting the voters' request is far more likely to encourage a remedy that would result in electoral chaos than one that would make any appreciable step toward fair and effective representation," Clement told Roberts. It's unclear when the Supreme Court will rule.