Monday, January 28, 2013
The North Carolina Supreme Court has held that the consultations between members of the General Assembly and lawyers employed by the Attorney General and two outside law firms (Ogletree Dinkins and Jones Day) in matters involving redistricting plans are protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Justice Jackson, for the majority, concluded that the General Assembly did not intend to waive privilege in such matters:
..we are unwilling to infer such a sweeping waiver unless the General Assembly leaves no doubt about its intentions.
Justice Hudson dissented, and noted that the enactment at issue stripped confidentiality from redistricting law. Without confidentiality, there can be no privilege:
Defendants seek to protect much of their legislative redistricting work from public scrutiny under the cloak of the attorney-client privilege; however, the statutory language could not be clearer in indicating that the privilege is inapplicable here, making waiver irrelevant.