State partisan gerrymandering trial set to begin in July

February 1, 2019 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A trial is set for this summer in the lawsuit Democrats and election reform advocates filed alleging North Carolina legislative districts violate the state constitution because of excessive partisan bias favoring Republicans.

A state three-judge panel filed an order Friday directing a July 15 trial start in Wake County court.

The plaintiffs allege partisan gerrymandering taints maps largely drawn by Republican legislators in 2017, even though a federal court altered them and Democrats won 16 additional seats in 2018. Republicans have said the plaintiffs are way off base and looking for a favorable state appeals court to rule their way.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in March in a similar federal partisan gerrymandering case involving North Carolina’s congressional districts. The justices likely would rule before the state trial.