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Monday News: Pragmatism or capitulation?

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PLAINTIFFS SAY IT'S TOO LATE TO DRAW NEW MAPS BY NOVEMBER ELECTION: It's too late to redraw North Carolina's congressional map before this year's elections, a legal team that has tried for two years to change that map said Friday in a key legal brief that could clear away some of the confusion clouding the state's coming election season. Attorneys for Common Cause and the League of Women Voters "reluctantly concluded" in a brief filed Friday that trying to redraw the districts now would be "disruptive and potentially counterproductive." Instead the court should force a redraw of the map before the next election cycle, Common Cause and the LWV argued. That should be handled by an outside expert commonly called a "special master," they said, instead of allowing the General Assembly to draw the map for a third time.
https://www.wral.com/groups-challenging-nc-s-congressional-map-don-t-change-it-before-november/17810...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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GENE NICHOL: NC REPUBLICANS ARE PIONEERS AT CONSTITUTIONAL TRANSGRESSION: The federal courts have described the legislature’s racial gerrymandering plans as the most pervasive ever presented to a judicial tribunal. And our recent go at political gerrymandering has been characterized as the most aggressive in American history. Our Republican leaders aren’t timid about their cheating. They are, quite literally, nation leading, cutting edge, pioneers in constitutional transgression — pathbreakers in the overt, boastful and relentless abuse of power. And, as is their habit, our bold leaders put on the full-court whine. They ought to start casting their gaze inward, where the cancer lies. They sound a little like the kid who killed his parents and then complained about being an orphan. We either have a stunning array of tyrannical judges — state and federal, trial and appellate, Republican and Democrat — or we’ve got a runaway legislature. The odds don’t favor the lawmakers.
https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article217508760.html

Saturday News: Overstepping its authority

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JUDGE RULES AGAINST BERGERMOORE IN BOARD APPOINTMENTS CASE: A three-judge panel has expanded Gov. Roy Cooper’s authority to make certain appointments, the latest step in a separation-of-powers struggle that began when then-Gov. Pat McCrory sued the General Assembly in 2016. The three state Superior Court judges in a ruling filed Friday noted that the Supreme Court in the lawsuit brought by McCrory said the General Assembly had overstepped its authority. Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, who are defendants in the lawsuit, also unsuccessfully asked the judges to delay any ruling in the case until after the Nov. 6 election, when proposed constitutional amendments will be voted on. They argued that the outcome “would have an obvious impact” on Cooper’s lawsuit, according to the ruling.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article217667050.html

Friday News: Back in court

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3 JUDGE PANEL WILL HOLD HEARING TODAY ON RENEWED CHALLENGE TO GOP AMENDMENTS: Gov. Roy Cooper has asked the court to keep the state from finalizing ballots that include a pair of amendments to shift appointment powers from his office to the General Assembly. The Republican legislative majority backs the amendments, which were rewritten in a recent special session to satisfy the court after the judges agreed with Cooper that their initial language was too misleading to go before voters. The Cooper administration argued in a complaint filed Thursday that the new language voters would see on the November ballot remains unfair. "They are false," the filing states. "They are misleading. They are incomplete. And they are argumentative. Ultimately, these ballot questions do not fairly advise the voters of what is at stake or facilitate an intelligent, independent decision on the proposed amendments."
https://www.wral.com/court-hearing-friday-on-constitutional-amendments-ballot/17807094/

Thursday News: Ground Zero

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CHAPEL HILL POLICE WORRIED ABOUT POTENTIAL CLASH DURING SILENT SAM DEMONSTRATIONS: Chapel Hill and UNC police are preparing for the possibility of another demonstration on campus Thursday evening. The university sent an email to students and staff, encouraging them to stay away from McCorkle Place, where Silent Sam was toppled one week ago. The town followed the example by asking residents to stay away from Franklin Street. Police are planning for violence Thursday, as two opposing groups are expected to rally -- one against Silent Sam and a group from Alamance County that wants to see Silent Sam back on its pedestal. Flyers have circulated from counter protesters, finding Silent Sam a memorial of racism that shouldn't be on campus.
https://www.wral.com/-stay-away-chapel-hill-police-issue-warning-expect-more-silent-sam-protests-ton...

Wednesday News: Defending the indefensible

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REPUBLICANS VOW TO TAKE THEIR GERRYMANDERED MAPS TO SUPREME COURT: The U.S. Supreme Court should quickly rule against a lower court that on Monday found North Carolina’s Congressional districts are illegally gerrymandered, the state’s top legislators said Tuesday afternoon. “In yesterday’s decision, the three-judge panel forecasted voiding the results of primaries and canceling the November election for Congress,” their statement said. “Such an action would irreparably disrupt campaigns from both major parties across the state that have been organizing, raising money and trying to win over voters.” Janet Hoy, co-president of the N.C. League of Women Voters, said Tuesday that “we will continue the fight for equal representation through fair maps” — even at the Supreme Court, which has taken strong positions against racial gerrymandering but has so far punted on the question of partisan gerrymandering.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article217455890.html

Tuesday News: Pushing the envelope?

GOP CHAIRMAN ROBIN HAYES EAGER TO VIOLATE CAMPAIGN FINANCE RULES: “This is an envelope. You have heard things that should inspire you to dig deep tonight. But federal law says you can only give, you and your wife, $5,200 to David Rouzer,” Hayes says in the recording. Rouzer then corrects him to say the individual federal spending limit is $5,400 per year. "But you can take this envelope, put money in here and give it to your friend and citizen, Robin Hayes, who happens to be party chair and I can take unlimited money and put it to his campaign, legally,” Hayes said. The NC Democratic Party is likely to file a complaint, according to spokesman Robert Howard. “These comments clearly show that the Republican Party is earmarking funds for specific candidates, a serious violation that should be fully investigated,” Howard said in an email.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article217160285.html

Monday News: Amendment madness continues

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NC SENATE BACK IN SESSION TODAY FOR AMENDMENT REWRITE SHENANIGANS: The state Senate planned Monday to debate and vote on a pair of amendments aimed at complying with a ruling by judges last week. The judges said the referenda attached to the amendments lawmakers passed in June failed to explain suitably what changes would occur if voters approved them. Republican lawmakers called a special session last Friday, when the House voted for the replacement amendments. Both amendments would shift powers from the executive branch to the legislature, although the scope of one amendment was scaled back in the latest versions. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper sued over the previous amendments and says the new ones remain "dishonest and dangerous."
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article217383080.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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IF "SILENT SAM" RETURNS TO HIS PEDESTAL, THIS ALUM WILL MOVE ON: Last year, I donated $50,000 to the university in order to establish a study abroad scholarship for minority and low-income students. My intention has been to renew that gift several times over in the years ahead. I believe the University is a magnificent institution with a unique legacy in American higher education. And yet, if the university re-installs the 1913 statue known as “Silent Sam,” I will discontinue my financial support and involvement in its alumni programs. This is a clarifying moment in the university’s history. Strange as it might seem, the university finds itself with a decision that’s identical to the one the administration of 1913 contemplated: Whether to erect a statue honoring the Confederate cause. Not whether to take such a statue down as debated in places like Charlottesville and New Orleans, but—owing to the handiwork of the “vandals”—whether to put one up.
https://www.wral.com/michael-bryant-hicks-if-silent-sam-returns-to-his-pedestal-this-alum-will-move-...

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