WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the North Carolina Supreme Court reinstated a pause of the state’s candidate filing period for all races while multiple legal challenges against the newly-enacted House, Senate and congressional maps are litigated. In its order, the court held that, because “of the great public interest in the subject matter of these cases, the importance of the issues to the constitutional jurisprudence of this State, and the need for urgency in reaching a final resolution on the merits at the earliest possible opportunity,” it is necessary to halt the candidate filing period and delay primary elections from March to May 2022 so that the challenged maps can be fully litigated. The state Supreme Court directed the trial court to “hold proceedings” and rule on the cases by Jan. 11.
The order today follows a flurry of activity in multiple North Carolina redistricting lawsuits over the past week. Last Friday, Dec. 3, a three-judge panel of a trial court declined to grant a preliminary injunction in North Carolina League of Conservation Voters (NCLCV) v. Hall and Harper v. Hall, which both parties then appealed. On Monday, Dec. 6, a panel of the North Carolina Court of Appeals temporarily stayed, meaning paused, the candidate filing period. However, the full court of appeals reversed this later in the day, allowing the candidate filing period to open on Monday afternoon. Both parties then sought relief from the North Carolina Supreme Court, arguing that the “matter is of extreme urgency,” which the court agreed with today. Another case challenging the state’s “race-neutral” legislative redistricting process is also before the North Carolina Supreme Court, with movement expected later this week.