Tuesday, August 14, 2018

John Arrowood Is Running for Reelection to the NC Court of Appeals

Democratic Judge John Arrowood is somewhat famous in our household because of the way he was appointed to the bench by Governor Roy Cooper.
Photo: News and Observer
When Governor Cooper was sworn into office in December of 2016, the Republicans in the General Assembly were facing an unappetizing prospect. Three judges on the Court of Appeals -- two of which were Republicans -- were going to be forced into mandatory retirement during Governor Cooper's term, meaning he would get to appoint their replacements.
The troops under Phil Berger and Tim Moore got busy and came up with a new law reducing the Court of Appeals from 15 to 12 seats, meaning that those mandatory retirements would not be replaced at all. Governor Cooper vetoed that bill in April and immediately Republican Judge Doug McCullough, one of the three facing mandatory retirement, retired early to allow Cooper to appoint his replacement before the General Assembly could override his veto. Boom! Cooper appointed John Arrowood of Charlotte to the bench.
(You can read the background here, especially the revelation that the NCGOP pressured McCullough to resign early while Pat McCrory was still governor, which pissed McCullough off enough for him to bollix up their scheme. Since then, naturally, the Berger/Moore machine has put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to give themselves appointment powers over all the judiciary.)
John Arrowood had served on the Court of Appeals before. He was appointed to a vacancy by Governor Mike Easley in 2007 but lost election in 2008. He ran again in 2014 in a very crowded field of 19 candidates and came in second.
Arrowood has more than a quarter-century of legal experience behind him as a lawyer in private practice aside from his two stints on the Court of Appeals. He graduated from the UNC law school at Chapel Hill, clerked for NC Court of Appeals Judge Gerald Arnold, and also served as a staff attorney and head of the Court’s central staff. He is vastly more experienced than his Republican opponent.
Arrowood is clear that the greatest current threat to a fair judiciary is the Berger/Moore General Assembly: "Article IV of the North Carolina Constitution establishes the General Courts of Justice as an independent co-ordinate branch of government and protects its power and jurisdiction from usurpation by other branches of government .... it is critical that our system be allowed to work independently without intimidation or the threat of interference by other branches of government."
Amen to that.

Republican Andrew Heath was appointed to a special Superior Court judgeship by Governor Pat McCrory between his failure to win reelection in November of 2016 and his actual leaving office in December of that year. Heath had been McCrory's budget director, and McCrory needed to give him a landing pad after that defeat.

Monday, August 13, 2018

BREAKING: Judge Rules in Anglin, Edwards Case

North Carolina legislators cannot reach back in time and change the rules of an election after the fact, Wake County Superior Court Judge Rebecca Holt ruled today as she issued a preliminary injunction to stop the printing of ballots that do not show the chosen party affiliations of Chris Anglin and Rebecca Edwards, who changed their party affiliations prior to filing for Supreme Court and Wake County District Court, respectively. Anglin changed his registration from Democrat to Republican, and Edwards switched from Republican to Democrat.

Republicans in the NC General Assembly then retroactively changed the rules so that the new party affiliations of Anglin and Edwards wouldn't be published on ballots.

The duo of Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore "have not yet decided if they will appeal Holt’s ruling, according to what they told other media outlets."

Republicans inserted that worm into the election apple, and they are livid that the worm turned.

Another of the State-Wide Court of Appeals Candidates You Need to Know

Democrat Toby Hampson is running for an open seat on the NC Court of Appeals. Judge Ann Calabria (R) is not running for reelection.
Hampson is a Moore County boy who was plucked out for advanced studies during high school at the North Carolina School of Science and Math in Durham in 1994. He went on to earn his law degree in 2002 from Campbell University with multiple honors including a seat on the Law Review. He began his career at the North Carolina Court of Appeals clerking for judges K. Edward Greene, Wanda Bryant, and Bob C. Hunter. He then practiced with Patterson Dilthey in Raleigh focusing on trial and appellate litigation before joining Wyrick, Robbins, Yates & Ponton in Raleigh in 2007, where he now leads the firm’s Appellate Practice group as a full partner.
So he's massively qualified for a seat on that appellate bench. He was named one of the "Top 100 Super Lawyers in North Carolina" (2015, 2017, 2018) by Super Lawyers Magazine. He was a top-rated appellate attorney by North Carolina Super Lawyers -- recognized in Appellate Practice (2014-2018) and as a “Rising Star” (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). He is recognized as "Legal Elite" in the area of appellate law (2018) and "Young Guns" (2010, 2012) by Business North Carolina magazine. 
He's married to another lawyer, Kristin, and they have three little girls.
The two Republicans in this race are Sandra Ray and Jefferson Griffin. Sandra Ray is a single mother of three, a district court judge in New Hanover and Pender counties, and she's not endorsed by the NCGOP -- which anointed the other Republican, Jefferson Griffin, for the seat. Griffin is a Wake County District Court judge. Neither he nor Sandra Ray have qualifications anywhere near Toby Hampson's.

Intercepted Letter -- "Terrible Decisions That Limit the Rights of Landowners"

Dear Editor:

On August 7, Judge Phil Berger Jr. authored an order that denied standing to a couple from Watauga County in their appeal of a case that involves the proposed asphalt plant near their home on the Doc and Merle Watson Scenic Byway, Hwy 421 near Boone. When constructed, this would be the second Tennessee-based Maymead plant in this small county. In that unpublished order, the first sentence of the “Factual and Procedural Background” puts forth four blatant errors of fact. Whether intentional or just the work of a blundering clerk, there is no excuse for such sloppy work from the NC Court of Appeals. One local attorney commented -- “All politics aside, this is one of the worst written findings I have ever read.”

Those misstatements could well have persuaded the other members of the three-judge panel to decide that the substantial legal arguments of the case were not worth considering, and so they took the easy route of agreeing to dismiss standing, an increasingly common practice when the court wants to avoid examining the real legal issues. This decision is contrary to the court’s own previous rulings on standing.

After a three and one half year fight by Watauga County, the Town of Boone, and local citizens, this case has still yet to have a fair hearing. The local Board of Adjustments' ten-day hearing was mishandled, the Superior Court judge admitted in Court that he had gone to see a movie instead of reading the briefs, and Judge Berger characterized the solid evidence presented on the standing issue as “bald assertion.” The undeniable errors of fact in his order will remain unchallenged unless the NC Supreme Court agrees to accept a petition for discretionary review.

These events bring my faith in the system to a new low, and it appears that justice through a fair hearing is sometimes just a fantasy. This is not just a local matter relevant to a small western NC community. It is part of an increasing frequency of terrible standing decisions that limit the ability of neighboring landowners to intervene in zoning disputes so as to not bother big corporations and disturb profits. When citizens and communities seeking to protect their health, property, and way of life have to spend 3 ½ years and hundreds of thousands of dollars without ever receiving a fair hearing, something is terribly wrong.

Judge Berger’s ruling can be read here: https://law.justia.com/cases/north-carolina/court-of-appeals/2018/17-1107.html

David Sengel

Boone, NC

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Than Which There Is Nothing More Important

Tim Moore and Phil Berger
The ousting of these guys. These power-mad corrupters of good and fair government, these twisters of fact, these concealers of truth, these enemies of fair and open government ... these Tim Moore and Phil Berger, bosses of their respective chambers in the North Carolina General Assembly and would-be dictators and stackers of the judicial system and overlords of all levels of administration.

Jen Mangrum v. Phil Berger
I've written here about Berger's Democratic opponent Jen Mangrum many times (use the search box, upper lefthand corner, if you doubt it). She's giving Berger the shakes, a good case of flop sweat, and everything his minions have thrown at her has backfired and made her stronger. She's much more famous now after they tried to eliminate her.

Our favorite Jen Mangrum quote: “I’m a third-grade teacher at heart. I’ve dealt with playground bullies before.”

David C. Brinkley
David C. Brinkley v. Tim Moore
Speaker of the House Tim Moore's Democratic opponent is less well known. I did write about him here on March 6th, and laid out the case against Tim Moore's manifest corruption. In a period of notorious and ballooning official scandals in the DJT administration -- self-dealing of the most repulsive sort -- Moore is right up there with the most flagrant of them. It's clear he's in it for himself and his best buds.
Back in March I worried that Brinkley had decided that attacking Tim Moore's record would be off limits for his campaign, and that still seems to be the case. He wants to lead "Team Purple" -- never be partisan, which to me is leading a calvary with no swords. It gives me a case of political prickly heat. I've assumed since last March that Brinkley harbors a negative stereotype of politicians and won't be talked into attacking Tim Moore's record of self-dealing because he thinks it's "negative campaigning." But you don't win against an entrenched incumbent without drawing a clear distinction, and there is nothing in God's blue heaven against telling the truth about a corrupt public official. Brinkley's nicer way -- "the purple way" -- takes you under the bus that just rolled over your torso.
Maybe I'm wrong. I'll pray for that.

Allegra Collins Will Be On Your Ballot in November

The only state-wide races on the ballot this November = judges for the NC Court of Appeals and the NC Supreme Court. We all get to vote on those contests.

I've written extensively about the strange saga of the Supreme Court race (twisted up by Republican shenanigans in Raleigh) and about Democrat Anita Earls who's very much in that race -- here and here.

But I haven't focused previously on the Court of Appeals, which is one layer down from the Supreme Court and also sharply crucial for fair governance in North Carolina in the age of Berger/Moore and the constitution-wreckers in the General Assembly.

Here's the boilerplate on the Court of Appeals -- has 15 judges who rotate, hearing cases in panels of three. Judges serve eight-year terms and are elected in statewide partisan elections (which didn't use to be partisan until the Republicans under Berger/Moore changed the rules). The court of appeals decides questions of law, not fact, in reviewing cases from the trial courts. The court hears all civil and criminal appeals from the superior and district courts, except for cases in which the death penalty is imposed. Death penalty sentences are appealed directly to the supreme court.

Democrat Allegra Collins, running for the open seat previously occupied by retiring Republican Rick Elmore. Her Republican opponent in November = Chuck Kitchen, and there's also a Libertarian on the ballot, Michael Monaco.

Collins is an athlete with a pedigree of high-level competition. I ain't whistling Dixie. Just listen:
She represented the United States at the Pan American Games in 1999 and 2003 as a member of the United States Women’s Handball Team. She was a "resident-athlete" at the United States Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY in preparation for the 2003 Pan American Games. She's played professional team handball in Italy and Germany. She received a full athletic scholarship (tennis) at both UCLA and the College of William and Mary. And she played on the professional tennis circuit, earning a world ranking in doubles.

In addition to her education at UCLA and William and Mary, she attended Campbell Law School in Raleigh for her J.D. She was no slouch at legal research either: While still a student, she received the I. Beverly Lake Constitutional Law Award for outstanding writing in constitutional law. She served an important apprenticeship under Court of Appeals Judge Linda Stephens, 2007-2010, and she's established her own practice specializing in appellate cases. She knows the Court of Appeals, pretty much inside-out.

She's got plenty to recommend her for the job. You can see more on her website.

Veterans Call Trump's Planned Military Parade "A Disgrace" -- It's All About His Fragile Ego

Twitterman witnessed first-hand the military pomp of a Bastille Day parade in the heart of Paris, and he immediately said he wanted one for himself in Washington. It looks like it's going to happen on Veteran's Day, Sunday, November 11, a few days after the fall election.

The military under Jim Mattis has caved, but the Secretary of Defense nixed the idea of tanks and other heavy equipment but will allow an aircraft flyover. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney estimated the parade would cost the taxpayers anywhere from $10 to $30 million.

We received this intercepted email from VoteVets.org, a large group of military veterans who have been very critical of the conduct of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars:
When we talk to members of Congress, they often ask why stopping this military parade is such a big deal to us. They wonder if people in their states and districts are really that fired up about this issue.
We tell them the answer is YES. Yes we are. Because this parade is not about honoring our military — it’s about using our military to honor Trump, a man who dishonors America and puts our country at risk.
We recently learned about the personnel and financial cost of the parade, and it’s as bad as you’d imagine: 
· 5,000 to 7,000 individuals marching
· 100 vehicles down Pennsylvania Avenue
· “a heavy air component at the end of the parade”
· A cost of $12 million 
This parade would be a national embarrassment all conjured up to serve a weak president’s frail self-image. To use some of our nation’s best and brightest for the task… it’s a disgrace.
 So a few days after the November 6th elections, huh? Trump's ego will no doubt need a little inflating by then, but do we always have to pay for it?

Friday, August 10, 2018

Interesting Wrinkle in the Legal Challenge to the Berger/Moore Constitutional Amendments

This completely got by me last Tuesday:
In an unusual twist, one of the defendants in Cooper’s lawsuit, the state elections board, agreed with Cooper’s argument that the questions dealing with separation of powers and judicial appointments are misleading and should be kept off the ballot.

A state law requires the state elections board “present all questions in a fair and nondiscriminatory manner.”
Solicitor General Matt Sawchak, who is representing the elections board and its chairman, Andy Penry, said the ballot questions failed to meet that standard.
They [the SBOE] “will be made a perpetrator of a constitutional violation,” Sawchak said.
The SBOE responded to being named a defendant in Governor Roy Cooper's suit to get two of the amendments thrown off the ballot. The SBOE agreed in Solicitor Gen'l Matt Sawchak's "crossclaim" that the public description of those amendments by the team of Phil Berger/Tim Moore amounted to an unconscionable lie.

Berger/Moore team's response. There's no law against it. There's nothing in law that says we can't claim what we want to claim about the content of constitutional amendments:
Martin Warf, a lawyer representing Republican House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger, said there’s no statute or case law that sets a standard for ballot language.

“There’s no case that says we can hold up presentation [printing the ballots] based on the fact that the governor or the board of elections thinks they might be misleading,” Warf said.
Our entire state government -- normal, time-honored checks and balances -- hangs in the balance here. If the NCGOP can fool the voting public into buying what it might not buy if it understood the small print, or even knew there was small print, they'll be able to brag: "You might elect a governor, but we can make him irrelevant."

My Civil War

I've only just been there -- to Gettysburg -- and now I'm obsessed. Maybe not obsessed in the way so many of my Southern brethren have always been obsessed -- with the hallowed names, the superior military breeding, the incredible bravery, the almost super-human sacrifice, and the ultimate heroic loss in "Lost Cause." That's nostalgia, like faith, the evidence of things not seen.

I'm obsessed with how close we came to losing our nation.

Joshua Chamberlain
Really, really close. Union General Dan Sickles single-handedly just about did it. But for the quick thinking of Col. Joshua Chamberlain of the Maine 20th -- you wanna talk bravery? -- the road to Washington would have been wide open for Robert E. Lee.

Today, the streets are crowded in Gettysburg and you meet people. Everyone's from everywhere. I met a young guy from Greenville, North Carolina (small world). He was with his wife and two very young children. He was a loud talker and an entertainer by nature, so other people heard him mention North Carolina, including me, and he noticed it and spiked that ball.

"I'm from North Carolina, but I guess you'd call me a Union sympathizer."

We fell in after that and discovered we were both reading the new Ron Chernow biography of U.S. Grant -- he was actually re-reading it -- big Grant fan. And you might call me a Grant sympathizer. So we were not your typical North Carolina boys in Gettysburg, maybe, and we found that amusing. Because we also heard grumbling in the Gettysburg National Military Park visitor center that the entire "public" history being practiced there was one-sided and did not appreciate the Southern point of view.

One woman from Florida -- a super-pleasant woman with an open face -- said to me, "Didn't you think that movie presented the battle from the Northern perspective?" I thought but didn't say -- because why be sarcastic and also because I probably would have run away on Day 1 -- "I thought it was the American perspective." 

At least the perspective of any country I would call home.

It is a good thing the Union won on July 3rd, 1863. A terrible thing too. It was all terrible. Horrendous. Suicidal. But it is a good thing that the country didn't split up. It was a good thing that slavery was abolished. It was a blessed thing that we had another chance to perfect our union.

So when I hear Southerners characterize the Civil War as a fight for cultural and individual freedom, I want to ask -- but won't, probably -- "freedom to do what, exactly? Please lay that out for me, as I've got a couple of basic questions."

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

NC Court of Appeals Rules for Maymead; Phil Berger's Little Boy Writes the Opinion

Yesterday the NC Court of Appeals ruled that the Henion family has no standing to contest the Maymead asphalt plant on the Doc and Merle Watson Scenic Byway. The Henions live virtually in the shadow of the plant.

A few things to know about the court's ruling:

1. The decision was written by Phil Berger Junior, the son of the most powerful Republican in the state who literally rigged the ballot in 2016 to get Junior elected to the Court of Appeals.

2. The decision was not published by the Court of Appeals, meaning it has no value as precedent. Unpublished, it is also not readily available to the public. Why, it's almost as though the Court was trying to hide it.

3. The Henions' only remaining option is to petition the state Supreme Court for discretionary review. At least that way someone will see the crappiest piece of legal writing that ever went down.

4. By focusing entirely on the standing of the plaintiffs to sue, Berger's ruling conveniently ignores the issues raised and skirts the merits of the case. He took the easy way out to not bother big business and corporate profits.

Phil Berger Jr.
5. The ruling makes errors of fact, stating that "the Hamptons" controlled Maymead, presumably through ownership. They didn't and don't.

6. Phil Berger Jr. has been accused (July of this year) of campaign finance fraud in his 2016 campaign finance filings with the State Board of Elections. According to the complaint, there were three “suspicious” donations to Berger's campaign for his judgeship that raise questions about whether the named donors were being used as conduits for “mystery money” from other sources who did not want to be identified publicly. That, among other irregularities, omissions, and obfuscations.

Democrats Have (Almost) Every Reason to Rejoice About Last Night

The special election in the Ohio 12th Congressional District hasn't been called yet. Republican Troy Balderson is 1,754 votes ahead of Democrat Danny O'Connor, but there are still "possibly as many as 8,483 additional ballots" yet to be counted, provisional ballots and mail-in ballots from overseas. So it ain't over, and O'Connor hasn't conceded.

Even if O'Connor still loses, it's a win, O my brethren, more evidence of the blue wave building, because the Ohio 12th was gerrymandered to be a solid, deep-red Republican district.

The big city of Columbus occupies most of Franklin County, but the district was drawn to take in none of its urban core but only the (formerly) safe Republican suburbs, which are precisely the precincts that made O'Connor so competitive. The rest of the district is mainly rural Twitterman country, and we'll find out soon enough that Republican performance in those counties was way down from 2016.

To repeat what you probably already know -- Twitterman won the 12th by 11 points in 2016. The seat has been held by Republicans since 1983. GOP Rep. Patrick J. Tiberi won the district by 37 points in 2016.

Despite what ultimately happens here, both O'Connor and Balderson will have a rematch this November. You can certainly expect Corporal Bonespurs to make a return rally engagement, since he likes getting his ego greased.

Shortly before midnight last night, Mike DeBonis published this duh observation: "Democrats are routinely beating their 2016 performance by double digits — putting the House and perhaps even the Senate within their grasp in November." I repeat: duh.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Update on Raleigh Law Suits

1. Chris Anglin won a temporary restraining order yesterday at 4 p.m. The State Board of Elections is enjoined from printing any ballots until the merits of Anglin's suit can be decided. A hearing on the constitutionality of the General Assembly's hastily written new law depriving Anglin of party identification on the November ballot has been set for next Monday in Wake Superior Court.

Absentee voting by mail begins on Sept. 7, which means the State BOE would begin the process of printing ballots now, and had intended to, before Messrs. Berger and Moore decided to get too cute by half in trying to clean up their own previous meddling misfire.

Incidentally, Anglin is not the only judge candidate affected by the Berger/Moore rug-yanking: According to Will Doran, Anglin "was joined in his case by Rebecca Edwards, who is seeking election as a district court judge in Wake County. Edwards switched her registration to the Democratic Party shortly before filing for that race. She argued her case jointly with Anglin on Monday."
“Retroactive legislation violates due process,” said [Edwards's] lawyer, Narendra Ghosh. He added that “the very integrity of an election” is threatened if there aren’t clear rules that voters and candidates alike can rely on.
Ghosh said he agreed with [Berger/Moore's lawyer Martin] Warf’s argument that there is no inherent right to run for office, or to demand how he or she wants to be labeled on the ballot. But, he said, “The difference is ... you can’t just retroactively take away that label in a discriminatory fashion.”
That's always been the issue (and if there's an added comic benefit in seeing the Republicans caught in their own web, then maybe there is a God).

Read more here: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article216187915.html#storylink=cpy

2. The NAACP/Clean Air Carolina suit
These two groups have also asked for a temporary restraining order to keep the NCSBE from printing any ballots until their complaint can be heard against the constitutionality of four of the six constitutional amendments proposed for the November ballot.

The four amendments: the one requiring voters to present photo ID, the one capping the state income tax rate at 7 percent, the one changing the way judicial vacancies are filled to limit the governor’s role, and the other one taking away the governor’s power to appoint members to boards and commissions and give that power to the legislature.

A hearing for the temporary restraining order is happening now -- Judge Paul Ridgeway's Superior Court in Wake County.

3. Governor Cooper's suit
Will Doran, who had apparently seen draft language of this suit, reported on Saturday that Cooper would be filing a suit over two of the same amendments targeted by # 2 above, the ones taking away the governor’s power to appoint judges, regulators, board members, and literally thousands of other state officials, and transfer that power to the legislature.

The actual language of just one of those two amendments (which Berger/Moore are desperately trying to hide from the voting public) reads like this: 
“Constitutional amendment to establish a bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections to administer ethics and election laws, to clarify the appointment authority of the Legislative and the Judicial Branches and to prohibit legislators from serving on boards and commissions exercising executive or judicial authority .... The legislative powers of the State government shall control the powers, duties, responsibilities, appointments, and terms of office of any board or commission prescribed by general law.”
Former Republican governors Jim Martin and Pat McCrory and McCrory's general counsel Bob Stephens have all denounced this amendment as an upending of the very principle of the separation of powers and the checks and balances inherent in democratic government. Bob Stephens published an op-ed to that effect in the Charlotte Observer.

It certainly does appear that Governor Cooper is also in Wake Superior Court this morning.

Judge Ridgeway was first hearing Governor Coopers petition (with arguments against) and is about to hear the NAACP/Clean Air Carolina petition for a TRO.

Hard to keep up at this distance.

Judge Ridgeway punted the question of the constitutionality of the four amendments and their presence on the November ballot to a three-judge panel, taking the petition for a TRO under advisement. (SBOE is already enjoined from printing any ballots by the TRO in the Anglin case, so perhaps he didn't want to pile on today.)

Monday, August 06, 2018

What the State Board of Elections Did Yesterday

Stacy C "Four" Eggers, member NCSBE, voted "no"
on every early voting plan except two.
Photo Lonnie Webster
At a rare Sunday afternoon meeting, the North Carolina State Board of Elections met in Forsyth County yesterday to hear 15 contested cases for Early Voting plans. Results in every case favored more access to Early Voting, with most votes going 5-4 along partisan lines (two unanimous exceptions noted below). Grateful to Loretta Boniti for keeping us informed yesterday.
Buncombe -- gets additional early voting site in black community
Dare -- gets Sunday voting

Durham -- keeps Sunday voting

Brunswick -- gets Sunday voting

Gaston -- gets Sunday voting (unanimous)

Gates -- gets expanded hours

Henderson -- gets Sunday voting

Lincoln -- gets expanded hours (unanimous)

Orange -- gets Sunday voting

Pender -- gets 25 Saturday hours and 20 Sunday hours

Pitt -- gets 80 Saturday hours and 20 Sunday hours

Randolph -- gets 4 early voting sites and 45 Saturday hours

Robeson -- gets more Saturday voting at more sites

Rockingham -- gets more sites

Wake -- gets early voting restored on NCSU campus

Wes Luther -- Democrat Running for NC Senate District 45

Wes Luther
You may not know that Democrat Brandon Anderson withdrew from the NC Senate race against Deanna Ballard within the timeframe that allows political parties to name a replacement candidate.

Democrat Wes Luther, a 29-year-old veteran of the Marine Corps. He's come back to ASU to study sustainable technology. He's just cranking up his social media ... FB page and Twitter.

This Will Be the Week for the NC GOP To Give Up Glue-Sniffing

Buckle up for what promises to be a thrill-ride of a political week:

1. Law suits in Raleigh

Photo Loretta Boniti
Chris Anglin promised to sue this morning in Wake Superior Court. He's contesting the General Assembly's bill of attainder singling him out for unequal treatment. Anglin followed the (new) law passed by the GA (Republicans), changed his party affiliation from D to R within the legal window, and filed to run for the Barbara Jackson seat on the state's Supreme Court
The Republican bosses in the General Assembly hit the roof, called themselves back into session last week and passed a new law saying that Anglin can't have the R beside his name on the ballot -- that the deadline for changing parties is now 90 days, which throws Anglin off the partisan ballot. Republicans, remember, brought partisanship to judge races, which used to be nonpartisan.
Anglin tweeted yesterday that he'll be in court this morning to challenge the bullshit. Holy crap! There he is before 9 this a.m., waiting to file his papers. He's asking for injunctive relief. 
The bit of his language I've seen: "I didn't make, break, or change the rules, just followed them. Even children understand changing the rules in the middle of an election is wrong."
How can he lose? 

NCAA/Clean Air Carolina lawsuit against four of the proposed constitutional amendments. I don't know which ones yet. These two non-profits were also at Wake Superior Court very early this morning.

Governor Cooper promised to sue today over the new law taking away the authority of the Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission as a gross violation of the separation of powers.

Danny O'Connor, in red
2. Special Election in Ohio on Tuesday

Young Democrat Danny O'Connor is running for a formerly solid Republican seat, the Ohio 12th, against Republican Troy Balderson. The special election comes tomorrow. Balderson should have this, but polling indicates that O'Connor has pulled even with him -- in a district that hasn't been represented by a Democrat in decades. So here rushes Twitterman Saturday night to Balderson's supposed rescue but really to do a rally for himself in which he briefly recommended Balderson for office but otherwise and in an hour-and-a-ten-minute rant in Lewis Center, Ohio bragged how awesome he is and how tremendous his acts and how dumb and evil everyone who opposes him is.

UPDATE, 11:30 a.m.
Hearing on Chris Anglin suit for injunctive relief scheduled for this afternoon, 2:30 in Courtroom 10A of Wake County Courthouse

Friday, August 03, 2018

Jim Crow Still Lives in Alamance County

District Attorney Pat Nadolski
The NYTimes profiles "the Alamance Twelve" this morning, 12 African-Americans in Alamance County who are being threatened with jail time for illegally voting in 2016 by a district attorney who doesn't care that they had no intent to break the law.

The Alamance Twelve didn't know that their prior felony convictions made them ineligible to vote. Election workers didn't tell them when they went to vote. They're on probation and, they thought, in the clear to act as full citizens. They were given ballots, and then they voted, and now they're charged with crimes.

The Alamance district attorney is pretty much alone pursuing voting mistakes like these in North Carolina, and it doesn't escape notice that his targets are all black voters. There's more than one way to suppress the vote.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Democrat Richard Chapman in HD53: May the Force Be With Him

Richard Chapman
Other than the Republican bosses of the NC Senate and House, Phil Berger and Tim Moore, if you need a gen-YOU-wine legislative villain, look no further than David Lewis of Harnett County. As chair of the House Rules Committee, he's been the principal vote suppressor and prime gerrymanderer. And most recently, he's the dude who insisted on a special session to grab away the power to write captions for the six constitutional amendments on the ballot this fall.

Democrat Richard Chapman is challenging this jerky Goliath. He's a retired journalist (and I wish his website was more detailed about that work -- where and when and what kind of reporting he did). If he can think critically and write perceptively, I like him already. Journalists -- the good ones, at least -- have well developed bullshit detectors and a deep understanding of human nature.

Far as we can tell (and we can tell), Chapman hasn't yet raised significant money, but District 53 is entirely contained in Harnett County which means it should be a good deal easier to canvass than any of the mountain counties. When you don't have money, you do have shoe leather, and an army of willing volunteers can do what money can't -- reach voters in the most meaningful way.

Republican Lewis has enough campaign cash to burn a wet mule, but he may not be inclined to spend too much of it. He likely feels invulnerable. Feeling invulnerable could be a fatal error in a year like 2018, which also means that Richard Chapman could usher in a miracle ... if he can raise volunteers where he can't raise money and if he hits the ground hard.