Redistricting Expert: No ‘Racial Targeting’ In Map Fixes

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Publish Date:
December 1, 2017
Author(s):
  • Robertson, Gary D.
Source:
U.S. News & World Report (AP)
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Summary

The expert who federal judges asked to redraw some North Carolina House and Senate district lines defended his final recommendations Friday, rejecting Republican arguments that he created boundaries with racial population quotas and helped Democrats.

Stanford University law professor Nathaniel Persily released his proposal, which altered two dozen of the General Assembly’s 170 districts, mostly in the counties in or around Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte and Fayetteville. Some adjusted districts returned to the shapes that the legislature first drew in 2011.

Persily wrote Friday there was no “racial targeting,” that he focused on “race-neutral criteria” like creating more compact districts and minimizing precincts split between districts, and presented data to prove it. Still, he said, it should be expected that the black population would fall in the districts when other redistricting principles are emphasized.

The “plan is inoculated against the kind of attack that the legislative defendants seek to lodge with respect to racial predominance,” Persily wrote. It eliminates “all of the constitutional infirmities the court has identified.”

Persily’s final plan tweaked lines and precincts so that only one pair of senators — Democrat Gladys Robinson and Republican Trudy Wade of Guilford County — were put in the same district, compared to several House or Senate pairs in the draft. Eliminating all the potential “double-bunking” in the House was designed to “avoid even the appearance of partisanship,” Persily wrote.

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