RALEIGH, N.C., MARCH 31 -- The Republican National Committee is planning to join forces with civil rights groups around the country to bring court cases aimed at creating scores of new black and Hispanic congressional and state legislative seats, according to a 1990 GOP redistricting battle plan unveiled here today.

The GOP interest in carving out new minority districts is to make Republican candidates more competitive in a state's remaining districts by reducing their percentage of minority voters, party lawyers and political operatives explained at a meeting of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.

"I guess you could call it an unholy alliance," quipped Frank R. Parker, who heads up the voting rights project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, when informed of the GOP promises of assistance. "We're looking forward to whatever help we can get from them."

RNC Chief Counsel Benjamin Ginsberg said the GOP is developing "truly space-age" computer software that it will make available to civil rights groups so they can integrate 1990 census data with the GOP's voter files.

"Anyone with a PC {personal computer} is going to be able to draw a redistricting plan -- not just the Democratic-controlled legislatures," he said. "You will be able to hit a button and see what effect it will have if you move the lines one block in one direction or another."

Because of the new technologies -- but more important, because of a 1982 Voting Rights Act amendment that places a higher burden on states than ever before to create black and Hispanic seats during redistricting -- Ginsberg estimated that the number of black- and Hispanic-held seats in Congress, currently 37, could double in the redistricting that will follow this year's census. Parker said he thinks a more realistic gain is "10 or a dozen."

"The 1982 Voting Rights amendments give us a powerful legal tool that we have never had before," Ginsberg said.

The second section of that law, as interpreted in 1986 by the Supreme Court in Thornburg v. Gingles, requires states where there is a pattern of racial bloc voting -- there is such a pattern in virtually every state -- to create minority districts wherever there is sufficient minority population concentration to do so.

"A lot of us think it is blatantly unfair when you say a district has to be carved out" to create a minority seat, said Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who attended the conference. "But having said that, there is no question that over the long run, it will redound to the benefit of Republicans."

As a result of the court-ordered creation of a minority congressional district in Mississippi in the mid-1980s, Lott said, "We will eventually have Republicans in three {of the four other} districts in my state."

It was the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law that initiated efforts to create the black district in Mississippi. Other groups expected to be active in challenging redistricting plans on behalf of minorities include the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP and the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund. The GOP plans to make its software available to them all.

The South is the region where the greatest number of legal challenges are expected because it has the greatest discrepancy between black population -- roughly 20 percent -- and black congressional representation -- 3.4 percent. It is also the region where Democrats control every chamber of every state legislature.

"This isn't going to be easy," cautioned Republican consultant and former Alabama GOP executive director Bill Harris. "When you start messin' with state legislative seats, it's like messin' with the Democrats' family business in the South. They're scared. They know they're in a fight for survival."

Ginsberg and Parker agreed that the southern states expected to pick up seats as a result of the 1990 census are the ones where it would be the easiest to create new minority districts. These include Texas, where a new black district is expected in Dallas; Virginia, where a black district could be created in the Tidewater region; North Carolina, where a black district could be created in the eastern part of the state; Georgia, where a black district could be created in a swath running through the middle of the state from Albany to Augusta; and Florida, where a new Hispanic district could be created in the southern tip.

In addition, southern states that are not expected to gain seats but which have heavily black populations and no black congressional representation -- such as South Carolina with 30 percent black population and Alabama with 26 percent -- are likely to face court challenges to create a black district, Ginsberg said.

Even without the gains expected from their alliances with civil rights groups, the GOP has been chipping away at the foundation of Democratic strength in the South. Today, 25 percent of all seats in southern state legislatures are held by Republicans; 15 years ago, only 15 percent were.

There is no more dramatic example of these advances than here in North Carolina, where the GOP picked up 14 seats in the General Assembly in 1988, bringing its total to 46 of 120 seats and enabling Republican legislators in 1989 to form a coalition with maverick Democrats that deposed the longtime Democratic House speaker.

"We feel like we are at the forward crest of the Republican wave of the future," Gov. James G. Martin (R) said. "The southern Democrats have their wave, too. It's 'Bye-bye. We're outta here.' "

Staff researcher Bruce Brown contributed to this report.