Lawyer: Time's already up for 2017 election
North Carolina's Republican legislative leaders have told the U.S. Supreme Court there's not enough time to hold a special election this fall with new General Assembly districts and 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 before a Tuesday afternoon deadline. Roberts had sought responses to a demand by voters who have successfully gotten 28 House and Senate districts thrown out to have the U.S. Supreme Court return the case to a lower court more quickly than normal. Washington-based lawyer Paul Clement says the case should be sent back after the routine 25 days. Clement says sending it back immediately could be seized upon to justify elections this fall. Republican lawmakers prefer holding the first elections with new maps in 2018. __ 3:40 p.m. The head of the North Carolina NAACP says state legislators should halt other lawmaking immediately and focus on redrawing General Assembly districts because courts have said once and for all that current boundaries were tainted with racial bias. The Rev. William Barber held a news conference Tuesday outside the Legislative Building and blasted Republican leaders for what he sees as dragging their feet. The U.S. Supreme Court last week upheld a lower court ruling that threw out 28 House and Senate districts as racial gerrymanders that illegally packed black voters. Barber says GOP leaders should stop passing bills he believes contain destructive policies and get new lines in place for special elections this fall. Republicans say they are waiting for directions from a three-judge panel before drawing new boundaries.