The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that a portion of our state legislature was illegally elected via racial gerrymandering. They have now redrawn those legislative maps, but, these new maps are more of the same. This week a three judge panel in Greensboro is hearing arguments about those new maps. This Raleigh Republican opposes those maps. He rightly points out that when legislators choose their constituents they no longer have to listen to the voices of the people as their seats are assured.
Morton Lurie is a Raleigh resident who describes himself as a conservative Republican.
On Monday, he was one of the North Carolina voters standing outside a federal courthouse in Greensboro, criticizing a map drawn in 2016 that has given Republicans a 10 to 3 edge in Congress.
Though it can be difficult to keep up with all the redistricting lawsuits filed this decade in North Carolina, Lurie is one of the challengers of maps adopted by the Republican-led legislature last year to correct two of the 13 congressional districts found by federal judges to be unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. Lurie objects to districts that are essentially safe seats for one party or another.
“The House of Representatives is that part of our government designed to be sensitive to the interests and will of voters spread across the country,” Lurie told media during a break in a trial that started Monday in his lawsuit.For all but two of the 30 years that Lurie has lived in Raleigh, he has been in a congressional district that elected Rep. David Price, a Democrat from Chapel Hill.
Lurie recalled the 1994 elections when Republicans gained both houses of Congress and former police chief Fred Heineman beat Price during the so-called “Republican revolution” during the era of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.”
“During the next campaign,” Lurie said, “Price was everywhere talking with voters.”
Lurie said he encountered Price at a Harris Teeter grocery store during that time and spoke with him for nearly 15 minutes on issues of importance to him.
Since then, Price has won re-election by wide margins, with his closest race in 2010 when he bested his Republican challenger with 56 percent of the vote.
“It seems to me that we get the best representation by congressional districts that are reasonably competitive,” Lurie said.
The trial that started in Greensboro on Monday is one of three major cases in the country that tests the breadth to which state lawmakers can draw congressional and legislative districts for partisan advantage.