NC Lawmakers Table Plan To Redraw Judicial Boundaries

Jun 27, 2017

Lawmakers have tabled a plan to redraw judicial boundaries at the General Assembly.
Credit Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers have tabled a plan at the General Assembly to redraw judicial boundaries. The policy about-face followed a day of contentious debate and halts a measure that had initially appeared fast-tracked at the legislature, possibly destined for legal challenges.

On Tuesday leading Republicans in the North Carolina House said they were pulling the bill from the day’s calendar, without citing a specific reason.

The proposal was set for a full debate in the House Tuesday afternoon, however it’s fate beyond that chamber was not bright. A high ranking Senate staff member said the bill in its present form was 'dead on arrival' in that chamber. Concerns from some Republican members of the Senate had emerged over the significance of the policy within the proposal, and the speed with which it was moving forward.

House Bill 717 had been dormant for months when it emerged in new form on Sunday night. The overhauled proposal would redraw political maps for judges across the state. Republicans cited population growth, predominantly in urban regions, as a reason for the changes to superior and district court judges as well as district attorney boundaries.

But Democrats quickly criticized the plan as being designed to favor Republican judicial candidates. Opponents also questioned if the proposal would violate federal law.

Lawmakers are aiming to adjourn the long legislative session before the July 4th weekend. While enthusiasm is dampened for now, this plan could reemerge yet again later in the year, or in 2018.