Entering a second decade of litigation over fairly drawn maps by the North Carolina General Assembly, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice has changed its tune since first suing the NCGA. This year attorneys for SCSJ have specifically litigated several groupings in the State House of Representatives, alleging partisan intent in the drawing of various districts.
With former SCSJ attorney Anita Earls now on the Supreme Court of North Carolina’s bench, it’s worth looking at maps Justice Earls proposed in her role as SCSJ’s attorney in 2011.
Durham and Person Counties
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice’s illogical allegations of partisan bias and unfairness are cast in to sharp relief just by looking at Durham and Person Counties. Joining other liberal plaintiffs in allegations over Durham and Person Counties’ districts, SCSJ alleges that the enacted maps for the 2022 election are unfair because of the way a seat combining Person and northern Durham Counties are drawn. Let’s take a look at what Earls and SCSJ proposed in 2011.
Now let’s look at the 2021 enacted map.
An astute observer will notice the districts are drawn nearly identically, with a key difference between the 2021 enacted map and Earls’ proposed 2011 map being the inclusion of two Democratic precincts in the northern Durham district. See SCSJ’s filing from December 2021 for yourself:
Earls’ map from 2011 removes the most Democratic precinct and splits yet another precinct in the enacted northern Durham seat. Earls’ proposed district resulted in a seat that President Biden won by a margin of 1.4%, whereas the district in the enacted 2021 map SCSJ claims is manipulated to elect a Republican was won by President Biden by 5.7%.
A larger margin of victory for a Democrat is not a ringing endorsement for allegations of pro-Republican bias in a seat alleged by SCSJ to be meant to elect a Republican.
Southeastern North Carolina
In southeastern North Carolina, a cursory glance from Earls’ proposed map shows just how extreme SCSJ is willing to go to chop communities and districts apart, like their proposed 12th House District, stretching across seven counties.
A casual observer could even take a look at the way Earls sliced and diced Robeson County and surrounding counties. Notably the proposed House District 48 snaking around Scotland and Hoke before re-entering Robeson, traversing the county line twice.
The enacted NCGA map for Robeson County is below.
Heading back towards southeastern North Carolina, below is a snapshot of what Earls and SCSJ drew in 2011 for Wayne County, splitting Wayne County between four different districts.
And below is the enacted 2021 map SCSJ now claims is a gerrymander.
Below is Earls’ 2011 map of Franklin County, barely touching on a corner of where four counties intersect to bring in portions of Warren and Halifax County to create a district.
Take a look at how Earls split up Greene County in 2011.
And below is Earls’ proposed draw of Pitt County in 2011.
Now the enacted map that SCSJ is now arguing is an unfair gerrymander.