Cooper, legislature likely to 'end up back in court'

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GOP lawmakers fired back at Gov. Roy Cooper after the governor called for a special session.

Republican state lawmakers are firing back at Gov. Roy Cooper, calling his request for a special legislative session a stunt.

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Cooper wants lawmakers to redraw 28 legislative voting districts after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional and racially gerrymandered.

Tamieka Harris is a southeast Raleigh mom and she's also a voter in this stretch of Wake County - which in the world of legislative districts - is known as House District 38; one of 28 North Carolina districts the Supreme Court affirmed to be unconstitutional because Republican lawmakers illegally packed black voters into districts across the state - as a way to dilute the African-American vote. The decision forces state lawmakers to redraw the maps.

"The sooner you get it done, the better," said Harris upon hearing about Gov. Cooper's proclamation. "Definitely redrawing them would help us. It would give a more fair result in the long run and hopefully change things."

RELATED: Cooper calls for special session to redraw district voting maps

On the heels of the high court's ruling, the governor is trying to turn up the pressure on lawmakers.

In his Wednesday afternoon news conference, Cooper called it 'unconscionable' that voters are going to the polls in districts that were drawn unconstitutionally. His call for a special session to start Thursday gives lawmakers 14 days to redraw the maps.

"We today are telling the legislature it is time to draw the maps and they better draw them or this court will," Cooper said.

Republicans bristled, calling the governor's move, "a clear political stunt."

In a joint statement from Republican Senator Ralph Hise of Mitchell County and Republican Rep. David Lewis of Harnett County, the lawmakers said, "Gov. Cooper has no constitutional role in redistricting, and we have no order from the courts to redraw maps by his preferred timeline."

Meredith College political science professor, David McClennan, agrees that while Cooper has the right to call a special session, Republicans aren't necessarily forced to take action.

"This is probably going to end up in court again. I mean the governor and the legislature end up in court quite often these days," McClennan added.

The governor's proclamation gives lawmakers two weeks to act before the judges step in and draw new maps.

But Republicans insist it's not up to the governor to start their clock. They're waiting for the federal court to tell them when to get to work.
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