NC GOP tries to become immune from judicial checks and balances

The NC GOP, stung by a series of judicial rulings that their unconstitutional laws are...er...unconstitutional, isn't about to put up with that.

When judges get in their way of passing unconstitutional laws, Tillisberger just passes a new unconstitutional law.

After passing laws imposing new conditions on abortions and elections, taking away teacher tenure and providing vouchers for private school tuition, Republican state legislators have seen those policies stymied in state and federal courtrooms.

So they have passed another law, this one making those kinds of lawsuits less likely to succeed when filed in state court. Beginning in September, all constitutional challenges to laws will be heard by three-judge trial court panels appointed by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

That's right, citizens won't be able to file suit against unconstitutional laws the way they can in every other state in the union. No, in NC, they have to have their cases heard by a hand-picked group of three judges who are appointed by the NC Supreme Court -- that would be the NC Supreme Court that the NC GOP paid good money to purchase.

So adamant is Tillisberger that no one but their wholly owned subsidiary, the NC Supreme Court, hear challenges to their unconstitutional laws that they also got rid of the appeals process for constitutional challenges! That's right, once the 3-judge panel rules against the citizens, the citizens' only recourse will be to appeal directly to (SURPRISE!) the NC Supreme Court, a division of the NC GOP.

A requirement that appeals go directly to the Supreme Court undermines the current system in which the appellate court filters out most of the cases so that only the most important ones end up on the highest court’s docket, [NC Bar Association president Catharine] Arrowood said. Only a limited number of cases can be heard, she said, and that restricts citizens’ right to appeal.

That pretty much sets up the Tillisberger as absolute dictators, but not quite: there's one more provision they added:

Another provision imposes an automatic delay of a ruling that prevents the state from enforcing a law until it can be resolved – a significant departure from current law. That could be unconstitutional itself, Arrowood said.

You read that right. Even when a law is deemed unconstitutional, it can't be stayed; it will continue in effect, trampling on the people's constitutional rights during the entire time it's being appealed (which can be years).

The NC Bar Association adamantly opposes this draconian, unconstitutional law. One of the people supporting it is (SURPRISE!) Art Pope minion and uncivil Civitas president Fran De Puke-a Luca.

De Luca said. “You’d have to think hard to remember a time when we had this number of laws declared unconstitutional in this quick a time.

Of course, it never even occurs to Fran that the reason we've never had this many laws declared unconstitutional in such a short period of time is that we've never had so many unconstitutional laws passed in such a hurry.

Because of its overarching nature, this law just might be the biggest assault on our rights that the Tillisberger passed in the 2013-2014 session. It gives them carte blanche to pass any laws they want, removing the possibility of any real legal challenges.

It's no surprise that this law, intended to allow Tillisberger to get away with imposing unconstitutional laws, is itself unconstitutional. But because the only way to challenge it now is to take it to a partisan three-judge panel, it will have to go to the Feds to get overturned. Let's hope that happens quickly.

Comments

NC leads the way again

in extremism. This law is such a breathtaking overturning of constitutional checks and balances that no other state has dared try it.

No other state has set up a system like the one that is going into effect in North Carolina. William Raftery, an analyst with the National Center for State Courts, says a handful of states have used panels of three for rare and specific purposes but not for constitutional challenges. Only three or four states have explored using it as a way of addressing venue-shopping, he said.
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“I’m constantly frustrated with the courts being treated like they are your local permitting agency or something,” [NC Bar Association president Catharine] Arrowood said. “This is the third branch of government. It is part of a three-part balance in our constitution. If it doesn’t function properly, our democracy doesn’t function.”

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

That would be this NC Supreme Court

the one that hasn't issued a ruling on the gerrymandering lawsuit after 8 months. Yes, 8 months. And they haven't said why they haven't issued a ruling.

Because they wouldn't want to say that they're stalling for political reasons. That wouldn't be robe-worthy, would it?

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014