The scope of an upcoming federal court hearing will be limited to whether a map recently passed by Republicans in a special session complies with section two of the Voting Rights Act.
A federal court hearing with a three-judge panel to decide whether the map passed by Republicans will stand for the 2024 election is set for August 14 at the Hugo L. Black Federal Courthouse in Birmingham.
Federal Judges Stanley Marcus, Anna Manasco and Terry Moorer said in filing in federal court on Tuesday that a trial on the merits would wait until after the upcoming hearing.
“Indeed, it would be unprecedented for this Court to relitigate the likely Section Two violation during these remedial proceedings, and the Court will not do so,” Marcus, Manasco and Moorer said in the filing. “We are not at square one in these cases. Regardless, the Plaintiffs bear the burden to establish that the 2023 Plan does not remedy the likely Section Two violation that this Court found and the Supreme Court affirmed. Finally, this manner of proceeding is consistent with the Defendants’ request that the Court conduct remedial proceedings at this time and delay any final trial on the merits of the Section Two violation until after the 2024 election.”
The judges also said claims made by lead plaintiff State Sen. Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) in a separate redistricting lawsuit wouldn’t be part of the upcoming hearing.
“Because the scope of the remedial hearing is limited, the constitutional claims of the Singleton Plaintiffs will not be at issue in that hearing,” Marcus, Manasco and Moorer said. “The Singleton Plaintiffs only assert that the 2023 Plan violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Accordingly, the claims of the Singleton Plaintiffs will not be heard in that remedial hearing, and the Singleton Plaintiffs may not participate in it as a party. If, however, the Court determines that the 2023 Plan does not remedy the likely Section Two violation the Court previously identified, then the Singleton Plaintiffs will be afforded the opportunity to submit remedial maps for the Special Master to consider and to otherwise participate in proceedings before the Special Master to the same degree as the Milligan and Caster Plaintiffs.”
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