NC Supreme Court

The verdict is in: Race still decides juries in N.C.

The Racial Justice Act went to the Supreme Court this week. Now, the state’s highest court must decide how North Carolina should deal with troubling revelations of racial bias in capital trials.

The oral arguments Monday were about four defendants who have been resentenced to life in prison without parole after a Superior Court judge found “a wealth of evidence showing the persistent, pervasive, and distorting role of race in jury selection throughout North Carolina,” as well as in their individual cases.

However, the larger issue is this: As a result of the Racial Justice Act, a comprehensive study found that African-Americans are being systematically denied the right to serve on capital juries. A qualified black juror in North Carolina is more than twice as likely as a white juror to be removed with a peremptory strike.

Life or death: NC Supreme Court on trial today

Four Racial Justice Act cases under scrutiny:

This morning, the state supreme court will hear the cases of four defendants who were removed from death row under the state's racial justice act. The court will review whether the now repealed-act should apply to these defendants.

Experts say the state supreme court could come out with a narrowly tailored decision that would only affect those four people, or their decision could be broader and affect the more than 150 defendants who have filed motions for relief under the act.

It may be several days before the actual text of the arguments are made available, but we'll post them when we can.

Tillisberger to exercise ownership rights

It goes like this:

  1. Tillisberger & NC GOP pass unconstitutional voucher program.
  2. They get sued.
  3. An NC Superior Court ruling freezes implementation of the voucher program until the various court cases proceed.
  4. Tillisberger goes to NC Supreme Court to get the freeze on vouchers lifted. They promised those taxpayer $ to their private school profiteer buddies and dammit, they intend to deliver!

After all, the NC GOP paid good money to assume ownership of the NC Supreme Court. It's about time for a little bit of profit-taking, right?

Art Pope candidate forces runoff in non-partisan Supreme Court race against Dem on Court

The News and Observer reports on a surprise for the May primaries. State Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson - one of only two Democrats on the state's highest court - thought she was only going to have one challenger for her seat.

One of only two Democrats on the seven-member court, Hudson assumed she would be facing a general challenge in the fall from Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Eric Levinson, a Republican. But near the end of the filing period, a second opponent emerged, Jeanette Doran.

“She came out of nowhere,” Hudson said.

The statewide primary race everyone should be talking about

Common-sense North Carolinians of all parties should be paying attention to the May 2014 primary race for one of the seats on the NC Supreme Court.

NC's most astute sitting Supreme Court member, Justice Robin Hudson, is being challenged by two corporatist opponents. One of those challengers is an Art Pope minion who serves at one of the Pope entities. Corporatists are trying to squeeze Justice Hudson out in the May primary.

Justice Hudson's rejection of her regressive colleagues' was affirmed by the US Supreme Court (even by Justice Alito!!!) last year in Wos. V. E.M.A.

NC Supreme Court: Leandro rulings still in effect

But the Court fell short of enforcing those rulings:

What's been clearly affirmed is that the lawmakers are hostile to the pre-K program and would rather not have one that serves all those who need it. The court offered them no such choice.

The earlier rulings regarding a sound, basic education and the right to pre-kindergarten schooling, it warned, "remain in full force and effect." As for the revisions that moved the lawmakers off the tracks, the court went out of its way to say, "We express no opinion on the legislation now in effect because questions of its constitutionality are not before us."

Meaning Republicans can continue to nibble away at pre-school funding while placing subjective requirements on children and families who want to enroll. If not doing your job is considered a "victory" for the GOP, then they've got one.

Newby brings free market extremism to NC Supreme Court

If you're a victim of fraud or other deceptive practices, it must be your own fault:

A critical finding in the majority opinion, written by Justice Paul Newby, was the determination that consumers must show that misrepresentations by the bank were a factor in their decision to enter into the loans, which in legal parlance is known as reliance. That was the legal argument put forth by Community Bank. The bank contended that the consumers took out the second mortgages based on the total package – the fees and the interest rates – and not “because they believed they were receiving discounted loans,” the court noted.

The court also overturned the claim of excessive fees, reasoning that “in most cases, there is nothing unfair or deceptive about freely entering a transaction on the open market.”

This is what happens when you put an ideologue like Newby in such an important position: he disregards precedence and good common sense, and makes a ruling based on his faith in an unproven economic theory. The fairy tale goes like this: if a business or individual continues to operate dishonestly, eventually customers will stop buying their product. Ergo, the government doesn't need to get involved. And there's no such thing as a "victim" in this formula, they are "participants" in a transaction who didn't pay close enough attention or ask the right questions. That's not justice, it's called negligence.

The hard numbers: NC Judicial voting in 2012

Just wanted to throw these facts out there for those prepping for the 2014 elections...

In the Nov 2012 elections, this many voted in the Presidential race:
4,505,372

In the Nov 2012 elections, this many voted in the Governor's race:
4,468,295

In the Nov 2012 elections, this many voted in the Lt. Governor's race:
4,368,598

In the Nov 2012 elections, this many voted in the Auditor's race:
4,281,080

In the Nov 2012 elections, this many voted in the NC Supreme Court race:
3,510,025

Ervin had 1,688,463 to Newby's 1,821,562

The margin of Newby's win (approx. 133,000 votes) is notably smaller than the drop off even from the Auditor race (approx. 771,000 votes).

It is absolutely worth engaging people in the STATEWIDE vote for NC Supreme Court in 2014.

Every voter gets to vote in that race no matter where they live.

Pre-K heading to NC's morally compromised Supreme Court

Just the fact that they're willing to hear it is not good:

The North Carolina Supreme Court has agreed to determine whether the state can deny at-risk children access to public pre-kindergarten programs. The state Court of Appeals unanimously upheld Manning's ruling last August, saying that state can't erect artificial barriers to N.C. Pre-K. State lawmakers appealed the ruling, and the Supreme Court allowed the petition for discretionary review.

What probably won't be discussed by this august body is how the Republican-led General Assembly is actively pushing tens of thousands of North Carolina families into (or deeper into) poverty, vastly increasing the number of our children at risk. But what is pertinent to this case is how the petition filed by Roy Cooper is fundamentally flawed:

Bent Supreme Court helps NC GOP conceal evidence

Begging the obvious question, what are you trying to hide?

The North Carolina Supreme Court sided Friday with legislative leaders who withheld emails and other documents between them and state-funded private attorneys about redistricting maps approved in 2011, ruling that those documents can be confidential. Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, who was chairman of the House Redistricting Committee when the maps were drawn, praised the ruling Friday. "It's very important for individuals to have the common-law right afforded to them of being able to have confidential communications with their attorneys," he said.

Pay attention, Einstein: as a taxpayer, I paid those attorneys, making me the client, and I want to see those damn e-mails. By withholding those e-mails from me and my fellow taxpayers, you're not only concealing your apparently questionable behavior, you're also violating our attorney-client privileges.

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