The lawsuit filed by the City of Greensboro to overturn House Bill 263 – which redistricts the city and changes the form of the City Council elections in Greensboro – just got more complicated.

On Friday, Oct. 30, federal District Court Judge Catherine Eagles granted the right of nine Greensboro citizens to intervene in the case on behalf of the Guilford County Board of Elections, which is the only party being sued despite the fact that the General Assembly passed the law.

The motion to intervene was filed on behalf of Skip Alston, Jean Brown, Hurley Derrickson, Stephen Golimowski, Wayne Goodson, Earl Jones, Sharon Kasica, Jim Kee and William Clark Porter on Sept. 2 by Benton Sawrey of Narron, O’Hale and Whittington.

The decision to allow the intervention by Eagles states, “The Court and the process will likely benefit from the inclusion of litigants who will defend the legislation, develop a more complete factual record, and provide more thorough briefing.”

Eagles states that the intervention, which was objected to by the plaintiffs, was appropriate under “Rule 24(b)(1)(B) and “is appropriate in the peculiar circumstances of this case.”

Eagles notes that the defendant, the Guilford County Board of Elections, “Indicates it will assert some defenses, including standing, immunity, and failure to join necessary parties … but that it will remain neutral on the substantive issues raised by the complaint.”

On July 23, Eagles granted Greensboro’s request for a preliminary injunction and ordered the 2015 City Council elections to be held according to the previously established districts with five councilmembers elected from districts, three elected at large and a mayor elected at large who votes on all issues.

House Bill 263 divided the city into eight districts, eliminated the at-large members and continued to have a mayor elected at large but the mayor would only vote in the case of a tie and on some personnel issues.

House Bill 263 also permanently took away the right of the Greensboro City Council and the citizens of Greensboro to redistrict or change its form of government without state approval.  This was the portion of the law that Eagles found likely violated equal protection clause of the Constitution in granting the preliminary injunction.

Since the preliminary injunction was granted in July, the General Assembly amended House Bill 263 to allow Greensboro the same right as other municipalities in the state to redistrict and change its form of government after the 2020 census.