The Latest: Lawyers want justices to halt Congress elections

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on North Carolina’s contingency plan to redraw congressional districts (all times local):

2:25 p.m.

Attorneys for North Carolina voters who challenged two congressional districts want the U.S. Supreme Court to keep in place a lower-court order that prevents primary elections under the current boundaries.

The plaintiffs responded Tuesday to the state of North Carolina’s emergency request last week to allow 2016 elections under the current maps while a legal challenge of the 1st and 12th Districts continues. Chief Justice John Roberts had given them until 3 p.m. to file a response.

Earlier this month, a lower-court panel of judges struck down the two majority black districts as illegal racial gerrymanders. The panel told the legislature to draw new maps by this Friday. Legislative leaders disagree with the decision and think the March 15 primary elections should go on as scheduled.

12:05 p.m.

North Carolina Republican lawmakers want to keep racial considerations out of drawing the state’s congressional map if they are forced to rework boundaries because of a federal court decision.

A special redistricting committee meeting Tuesday set official standards for lines of the state’s 13 congressional districts. Using those criteria is contingent on the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to block a lower-court decision that struck down the 1st and 12th District as illegal racial gerrymandering.

GOP committee members voted that racial data of North Carolina residents would not be used. Co-chairman Rep. David Lewis argues the judges found no racially polarized voting in the state.

Democratic committee members disagree with that argument and say Republicans are thumbing their noses at the judges, who could draw the map themselves.

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