A group of South Carolina elected officials has requested—twice—that a district court judge overseeing redistricting litigation recuse from the matter because of his involvement in similar cases on and off the bench and because he wrote a book on the state’s history of racial discrimination.

Both times, Judge Richard Mark Gergel declined to step down from a three-judge panel in The South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP v. McMaster, a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina that challenges the constitutionality of 28 state House districts, alleging they are drawn to dilute the votes of African American voters.