RALEIGH -- A North Carolina Supreme Court judge shouldn't be forced to the sidelines in a lawsuit challenging political districts favoring Republican politicians even though his re-election relied heavily on support from GOP-aligned outside groups, attorneys said Monday.
The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP and other groups last month asked for Justice Paul Newby to stay out of the Supreme Court's decision on 2011 congressional and state legislative maps that they contend were illegally gerrymandered to favor GOP candidates.
Newby, a registered Republican, was trailing his challenger, Appeals Court Judge Sam J. Ervin IV, in polls taken in the weeks before the Nov. 6 election. That gap narrowed as a political action committee named the North Carolina Judicial Coalition spent more than $1.9 million on television spots supporting Newby and attacking Ervin in the final weeks of the race.
About $1.2 million of that money came from the Republican State Leadership Committee, a Washington-based group described as providing direct technical assistance to the North Carolina Republicans who drafted the legislative maps at issue, said lawyers who urged Newby's recusal ...