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Recusals sought as remapping case moves to N.C. Supreme Court

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS RALEIGHPUBLISHED 6:30 AM ET JAN. 13, 2022

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The legal fight over North Carolina’s redistricting plans shifted quickly to the state Supreme Court the day after trial judges refused to throw out the new maps. By Wednesday, nearly half of the justices had been asked by lawyers to stay out of upcoming deliberations because of alleged conflicts.

Plaintiffs in the case filed appeal notices with the state’s highest court almost immediately after Tuesday’s ruling by a three-judge panel that allowed the use of congressional and legislative districts approved the Republican-controlled General Assembly for upcoming elections.

The court already signaled last month to expect a fast-moving hearing schedule. State election officials have said they need final maps in place by mid-February to keep the once-postponed primary election now set for May 17 on time.

State law would give legislators two weeks to address any unlawful districts.

Lawyers for Republican legislative leaders asked Wednesday that Associate Justice Anita Earls be recused because of previous ties to groups involved with the plaintiffs.

They had already demanded that Associate Justice Sam Ervin IV step away because as the only sitting member running for reelection this year the court’s decisions could affect when elections he’ll be competing in are scheduled.

And attorneys for a group of voters who challenged the maps repeated late Tuesday their call to remove Associate Justice Phil Berger Jr. because his father, Senate leader Phil Berger, is a named defendant and whose district is among those being challenged.

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