Sunday, February 26, 2017

Gonna Be a Busy Spring in Court

Jim Morrill and Michael Gordon have produced a useful primer on some major court challenges to  recently passed Republican laws in North Carolina:

March 28: The US Supremes will hear arguments in a related Virginia case involving a transgender student (the outcome of which could affect the future of HB2). In May, the 4th Circuit in Richmond has scheduled a hearing on a direct challenge to HB2 (Carca├▒o v. McCrory, a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal).

Gerrymandered NC House & Senate Seats
Covington v. North Carolina -- a lawsuit filed in May 2015. Some 31 North Carolina residents sued the state, leaders of the legislative redistricting committee, and state board of elections, contending that Republican lawmakers had packed African-American voters into nine Senate districts and 19 House districts in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

A three-judge panel last year ordered new legislative districts drawn by March 15 followed by a new election in those districts. The state appealed and the Supreme Court put the order on hold. The Supreme Court is expected to decide this spring whether to hear the appeal.

Voting Rights
NAACP v. North Carolina --Last year a three-judge federal panel struck down the monster law that rewrote in 2013 North Carolina voting rights -- imposing a photo ID, eliminating days of early voting and out-of-precinct voting and straight-ticket voting, among other changes.

While he was still governor, Pat McCrory appealed the three-judge ruling to the US Supremes. A hearing on that appeal is scheduled for March 3, but last week Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein withdrew McCrory's appeal on behalf of North Carolina, discharged the private lawyers hired to argue the case, and prompted Republican leaders in the NC House and Senate to now seek to intervene in the case.

Boards of Elections
The law passed and signed in the last minutes of the McCrory administration that snatches control of boards of election from Governor Cooper -- After two rulings against it (in Wake Superior Court and by a three-judge panel) and one ruling for it (by three anonymous judges on the NC Court of Appeals), the challenge to this noxious power-grab by the Republicans has been "plucked" by the NC Supreme Court which will soon hear arguments on its constitutionality.

The Governor's Power to Appoint
In another last-minute law passed to thwart newly elected Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, the NC Senate reserved for itself the right to confirm all of Cooper's cabinet appointments. Cooper sued (Cooper v. Berger and Moore), maintaining the new law is an unconstitutional intrusion into the separation of powers.

Cooper is hanging tough. He is refusing to allow his cabinet appointees to appear in the Senate for confirmation hearings. The issue will get a hearing on March 7.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gerrymandered NC House and Senate !? Now, that's funny, Jerry !