Lawyers Argue On NC Redistricting Case, Still No Ruling

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Attorneys defending new redistricting plans for North Carolina and those who say they're illegal have explained to a panel of judges why lawsuits challenging the boundaries should be thrown out or allowed to continue.

Three Superior Court judges heard about three hours of arguments Thursday on a motion by state and legislative leaders to dismiss litigation that seeks to have maps for General Assembly and congressional districts declared unconstitutional. The judges didn't immediately rule.

Civil rights lawyer Anita Earls asked the judges to let the lawsuits continue because North Carolina voters deserve better maps that those she argues have racial gerrymandering and will confuse voters.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Alex Peters said lawmakers followed the rules set by the state Supreme Court last decade in drawing the lines.

The legal fight over North Carolina's new boundaries for General Assembly and congressional districts returns to court as attorneys for the state attempt to persuade judges that challenges to the maps should be thrown out.

A three-judge panel scheduled a Thursday hearing in Raleigh for arguments on the state's request to dismiss a pair of lawsuits filed by dozens of Democratic elected officials, voters and advocacy groups.

The lawsuits allege the maps are unlawful because they scoop up black voters into districts to reduce their overall political power and that boundaries cross too many county lines. The lawsuits' authors want judges to block the maps from being used in the 2012 elections.

Lawyers for the state and legislative leaders say the maps comply with state and federal law and rulings.

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