No one knows how many amendments will be on the November ballot, but it's a safe bet one of them will be about victims' rights. Backers of the amendment would have us believe there's no way to protect victims' rights without amending the North Carolina Constitution -- again -- to make victims an even more protected class. That's just nonsense. Every single thing proponents want to do with this amendment could be done using regular legislation.
I say "again" because there's already a victims' rights amendment in the Constitution. Apparently it isn't good enough to satisfy Henry Nicholas, who will spend $5 million in the next two months to promote this new amendment. Nicholas founded and funded the national Marsy's Law organization and is the guy behind Broadcom Corp.
Since the NC Constitution of 1971 was affirmed, there have been only twenty amendments. The majority of these amendments extend the rights of citizens, or extend the government the ability to issue bond. Notably, victims' rights have already been incorporated by amendment into the NC Constitution. See section 37 of the Declaration of Rights.
Victims' rights advocates say they need to spend $5 million in out-of-state money to distinguish their unnecessary amendment from the other five unnecessary amendments that could be on the ballot. That's a lot of cash. And none of it will be spent telling the whole truth. No one will mention that the amendment will force state, county and local governments to spend more than $10 million every year to implement its provisions. No one will mention the unintended consequences of innocent people being found guilty.
Meanwhile, the ACLU, an organization I trust implicitly, has weighed in against this kind of amendment, saying it probably creates more problems than it solves.
I have nothing against carefully crafted laws that protect victims' rights. But this amendment is a fuzzy blank check that can and will be used in ways none of us can anticipate. I encourage everyone to VOTE AGAINST this and all the other amendments.