Last week a panel of Wake County Superior Court judges heard arguments in a case contesting North Carolina's voting maps. Hearings began last Monday and ended Thursday, with a decision expected by Tuesday, January 11. Plaintiffs in the case, arguing that the maps violate the state constitution, brought in multiple expert witnesses who testified that the newly drawn congressional and state legislative maps were heavily skewed in favor of Republicans. In addition, testimony from House Rules Chairman Destin Hall (R-Caldwell) on Wednesday revealed that the map-drawing process may not have been as transparent as promised: Hall testified that he consulted private "concept maps," which have since been deleted, while using the public map-drawing terminal.
Two Republican state Supreme Court justices notified lawyers in a case challenging NC’s voter ID law that they do not plan to recuse themselves from the case. The justices, Tamara Barringer and Phil Berger Jr., both have potential conflicts of interest in the case, as Barringer voted for the laws at issue during her NC Senate tenure and Berger’s father is the NC Senate President Pro Tem. The NAACP (plaintiffs in the case) had initially requested that the two justices recuse themselves, and then when they did not, requested that the full Supreme Court force their recusal.The high court, however, chose to leave the decision to the individual justices.
On Friday Governor Cooper signed an executive order setting more ambitious targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and emphasizing climate justice across the executive branch. The order calls for a 50% reduction of emissions compared to 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by no later than 2050. It also mandates that each cabinet agency identify an environmental justice and equity lead to allow for cross-agency collaboration on environmental justice initiatives and sets additional deadlines for achieving environmental justice and equity goals within the agencies.