[JURIST] The US Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked [order, PDF] a trial court's ruling ordering special elections in North Carolina. The court granted a stay of the order of the US District court for the Middle District of North Carolina, which ruled [order, PDF; JURIST report] that North Carolina must redraw congressional districts by March 15, 2017, and hold special primary and general elections by next fall. Officials requested the Supreme Court act before the state's General Assembly convened on Wednesday in order to prevent the newly elected legislators from spending "the critical first few weeks of their new session drawing remedial maps." Republican lawmakers have filed an appeal to the Supreme Court regarding this matter, and the order will remain in effect [NYT report] pending the Supreme Court's action on the appeal.
The lawsuit was originally filed in May of last year by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice [advocacy website] on behalf the citizens allegedly affected by the election tampering. In February the lower court ordered [JURIST report] North Carolina to redraw the 1st and 12th congressional voting districts ruling the district drawing were unconstitutional for similar racial gerrymandering. The Supreme Court originally upheld [order, PDF] the decision in a one-sentence order stating they would not intervene. In June the Supreme Court agreed to hear [AP report] Republican lawmakers' appeal [appeal, PDF] regarding the congressional districts redrawing, with arguments scheduled to occur next week.