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One court loss after another for the NCGA; Activism Lessons; Notable Mentions; Events
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The NCGA Loses in Court, Again and Again and Again and Again

(that's 4 times this week)


Loss #1:

NC's US Congressional Districts Back on the Drawing Board


A Federal District Court panel confirms that plaintiffs in the Common Cause & LOWV vs Rucho case, on a district by district basis, have suffered harm to their First Amendment and Equal Protection rights of the US Constitution at the hands of NCGA mapmakers. These politicians have continued to draw extreme partisan congressional gerrymandered districts, and based on their own admissions we may finally see the end of gerrymandering across the country before the next census is drawn.

The court has recommended a number of possible solutions, including drawing new districts before November's election and either having no primaries or holding a primary in Nov. and a separate general election for Congressional candidates only shortly thereafter. This case will be appealed to SCOTUS who will need to decide in short order how to respond. Since Justice Kennedy's resignation leaves the court with only 8 Justices, a deadlocked decision could mean the lower court's ruling stands. 

We have analyzed the 300+ page ruling and you can read an overview by StrongerNC team member Julie Faenza here. It is clear that this court is not playing around, and has included multiple references to other constitutional problems created by this legislature.

 
Loss #2:

Court strikes two constitutional amendments from the ballot


Loss #1 caught everyone off guard this week, when we were really looking to see what would happen with the two lawsuits surrounding the constitutional amendments. 

Last Tuesday, a 3 judge panel ruled in favor of Gov. Cooper and ordered the 2 amendments concerning judicial and board appointments to be struck from the ballot due to the deceptive and misleading nature of the ballot descriptions. However, they gave the NCGA an option to re-write the ballot language with more clarity. 

Instead of choosing to re-write the ballot language, the NCGA called a special session to write two new amendments. The new amendment concerning board appointments does remove the most egregious issue, which would allow the legislature power to appoint every board member across the state, but it does leave in their desire to change the Board of Ethics and Elections to 8 members instead of the current 9, hopeful of deadlocked decisions on election and ethics violations. 

Regarding judicial appointments, not much changed in their new amendment except they tripled the length of the language that will appear on the ballot, sure to confuse many. This language still makes it appear as if multiple parties will participate in the appointment process when in reality it will be the legislature selecting any two nominees they choose with the Governor required to appoint one of those choices. 

The latest on this issue? Just today, the NC Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay, stopping any ballot preparations by the Board of Elections while it decides whether to intervene in these two cases, brought by the NAACP and by Gov. Cooper. 


Loss #3:

Two Judicial candidates will keep their partisan designations


Last year NC lawmakers decided they'd like to make judicial races partisan, and have the candidate's party affiliations appear on the ballot. That was Gov. Cooper's first veto, and now those lawmakers may be regretting their first veto override. 

There is a statewide race for a NC Supreme Court seat in November, and when former Democrat Chris Anglin decided to switch parties and run as a Republican against incumbent judge Barbara Jackson, he knew he'd have a spot on the ballot - remember all judicial primaries were eliminated in the hopes of having multiple Democratic candidates run against Anita Earls. The NCGOP even paid for a big mailer to Democratic attorneys hoping to encourage some to run. That ROI was pretty dismal since not one other candidate appeared to split the Dem vote.

Seeing that the tables had turned on them, the NCGOP sued to have Anglin's party designation removed, along with anyone else who had changed parties within 90 days of filing. That affected Rebecca Edwards also, a Wake Co. Democrat running for a District Court seat. 

Once again, the appeals court ruled against the lawmakers, upholding the Wake Co. Superior Court ruling that they acted unconstitutionally by targeting specific candidates and changing the rules after the filings to benefit their own party. 


Loss #4:

The Constitution Party will have its candidates on the ballot


In a similar case where lawmakers targeted specific candidates on the ballot this November, this time they passed a law saying that candidates who lose their primaries can not appear on the general election ballot for another party. They passed this law just after the Constitution Party was certified this summer.

Three candidates were affected, who lost their primaries but switched party designations to the newly formed Constitution Party shortly thereafter. Since this was a brand new party, federal district court Judge Louise Flanagan ruled they were able to run, and not subject to standard "sore loser" laws against changing party affiliations. 

Similar to the Anglin decision above, "Flanagan wrote that she was not questioning the right of the legislature to have “sore loser” laws in general, but that in this case, “the concern is not about the legislator’s ability to enact prospective sore loser laws but the retroactive application and impact of this law on plaintiffs’ rights.”

One Woman's Experience Trying to Make a Difference 


Renee Sekel, a mom and public education advocate extraordinaire, formed the Facebook group "Save Our Schools" with one mission in mind - to solve the #ClassSizeChaos created by the NCGA when they passed HB13 to reduce class sizes but did not bother to fund the law, leaving school districts scrambling to meet new standards with no money. 

Read her blog post here about the lessons she's learned in the process of trying to make a difference. 

"Our school systems are (justifiably) afraid to say “No.”  And too many of our legislators are unwilling to say “No” to their own party for the benefit of their constituents.  So it’s our job as parents and as citizens to stand firm in their stead.  Say “No” to any attempts to further expand the legislature’s power (that means voting “no” on the constitutional amendments on the ballot).  Say “No” to further attempts to harm our schools.  And when faced with the opportunity at the ballot box in November, say “No” to all candidates who have served their party, not their constituents.  Let’s let them fear us for once."

Notable Mentions This Week


UNC Board has until mid-November to devise a plan for Silent Sam

LYFT offers discounted and free rides to the polls in November

Red4EdNC, a statewide teachers' group, presents a list of grievances inc. overly large class sizes and lack of supplies, which is signed by teachers from 104 school districts.

Billionaire sponsor Henry Nicholas of Marsy's Law, the victim's rights constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall, is arrested for narcotics trafficking, inc. heroin, cocaine, meth and ecstasy. 

Apple is worried about constitutional changes as they consider an NC campus.

Do You Have Events to Share With Us?


We are updating our web calendar with events for the fall and want to hear from you! 

If you are NOT a political party elected officer, candidate or campaign staffer, please e-mail us any publicly listed events with the relevant links and information and we will publish them on our site providing they promote progressive issues and/or provide opportunities to meet candidates who advocate for them.

 
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Copyright © 2018
Stronger NC, Inc. All rights reserved.
Stronger North Carolina, Inc. is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization that educates North Carolina citizens about issues affecting the electorate. Stronger NC is not affiliated with any political party and does not endorse individual candidates. 


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