NCGA

NC Supreme Court's mystery "rule" needs more scrutiny

And the timing is very suspect:

Some legal experts find the change curious in its timing and mysterious in its intent. Certainly it prompts questions: Will this allow Chief Justice Mark Martin, who is now to be in the conservative minority, to pick retired justices to break ties who agree philosophically with him? Is the change even legal under the state constitution?

And, the rule was instituted outside the traditional procedure for such a rule. The state Bar Association typically advises the court on such changes, and that wasn’t done in this case. There were no public comments sought. Mystery leads to suspicion, particularly when a government body is involved.

One possible reason for this rule change can be glimpsed in this scenario: Attorneys seeking a conservative decision could mount a challenge to one of the Democrats (who will be in the majority) to recuse him- or her-self from the case, producing the 3-3 deadlock. Whether there is (solid) grounds for such a challenge may not be as important as the Justice in question wanting to avoid any aura of impropriety, so a voluntary recusal (however unnecessary) might be easier to achieve than the average person would assume. Followed by Justice Martin calling in a reliably conservative replacement. And of course, if the GOP *does* stack the Court in the next few weeks, if one of the five conservatives has a conflict that demands recusal, Martin can still have his majority with a quick telephone call. All that speculation aside, there is no Judicial need for this rule. Split decisions in the NC Supreme Court are rare, and are almost always political in nature. A 3-3 deadlock simply means the lower court ruling will stand, taking the politics out of the Supreme Court's hands.

McCrory's legacy reduced to "sore loser" status

As a wise (country music-singing) man once said: "You gotta know when to fold 'em."

“With each day, we discover more and more cases of voting fraud,” said Russell Peck, McCrory’s campaign manager in a statement Nov. 17. Um, no. The State Board of Elections issued an order Monday dismissing such protests. But while the State Board was mining grassroots details, a couple bigger questions from 10,000 feet up have gone unanswered.

If voter fraud is/was as widespread as Gov. Sore Loser has claimed, how is it that he is the only big-name Republican to lose a statewide race? Was the fraudulent conspiracy so surgical that it only took out McCrory?

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when fist-clenching Pat reads this editorial. Of course, he won't get the message and reassess his efforts to undermine the will of the voters, it will simply be more proof of the widespread conspiracy to derail the Carolina Comeback and unfairly blemish his resume'. So the fight will go on, and North Carolina will continue to be the subject of ridicule on the national stage, as people from other states gawk at us in disbelief. Thanks, McCrory.

Junior Berger gives thumbs-up to pollution of Blount's Creek

I'm sure daddy is very proud:

68. Petitioners argued that DWR underestimated or understated the effects the proposed discharge will likely have on the Blounts Creek aquatic ecosystem, including effects on flow, pH, salinity, benthos, fish, and the existing biological community of Blounts Creek.

69. DWR’s findings and inferences regarding the predicted effects of the proposed discharge fall within “specialized knowledge of the agency.” As such, the undersigned is required to give such facts and inferences “due regard” pursuant to the APA. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 150B-34(a).

The above excerpts are mild in comparison with a lot of other language in this order. Usually, you'll find deference to opposing views/positions in these point-by-point decisions, but Berger went out of his way to toss in "not convincing" and "failed to prove" wherever he could. I also find the timing of this order questionable. Had he made this decision before the Election, it might have kept him from winning a seat on the NC Court of Appeals, if enough anger and outrage could have made it into print. Grrr.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Finally, some very good news:

It's not over yet, because there's still a frivolous Civitas lawsuit to be dealt with, but this order makes it pretty clear the state Board of Elections isn't going to play along with McCrory's multi-county gambit. And even if sniffling Pat keeps whining, it looks like the NC GOP is also over it:

Primer on the 2004 contested election for NC Superintendent

McCrory is not the first Republican sore loser:

Few would have envisioned this moment back in November, when candidate Fletcher challenged candidate Atkinson’s 8,500-vote margin by questioning the legality of 11,000 out-of-precinct provisional ballots cast in the election, enough ballots to draw into question the outcome of the election and perhaps justify a court order for a new election.

The procedure followed by the General Assembly on August 23 was specially designed to fulfill the requirements of a provision of the state constitution that until then had escaped almost everyone’s notice: Article VI, Section 5. It says that a contested election for any of the ten Council of State offices (for the offices involved, see the sidebar on page 44) “shall be determined by joint ballot of both houses of the General Assembly in the manner prescribed by law.”

Bolding mine, because that date tells us many things. First, the General Assembly didn't "rush" into making a decision about this race, it viewed such a decision as a last resort. No doubt they considered her 8,500 vote lead to be strong enough to stand on its own. That date also tells us the lengths that some people are prepared to go in an effort to undermine the will of the people. And the legal actions that took place in 2004 are eerily similar to what Civitas is trying to do now:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Francis DeLuca joins the ranks of petty tyrants trying to steal the election:

He's going after Same-Day Registration voters in an effort to delay the outcome of McCrory's stunning loss, implying many of these voters are "illegitimate" and should not be able to counter "legitimate" voters. And he's also using the same Civitas legal entity that challenged NC's very first wind farm. Let's hope they fail just as bad this time too.

Woodhouse's Carolina Rising gets free pass from FEC

Apparently blatantly violating campaign laws is no big deal to Republicans:

Dallas Woodhouse, who ran Carolina Rising in 2014, could not be reached for comment Friday night. He is now the N.C. Republican Party’s executive director. Carolina Rising indicated on its 2014 tax form that its mission was to promote limited government, low taxation and a thriving economy.

After the 2014 election, the Center for Public Integrity found that Carolina Rising ran nearly 4,000 ads praising Republican Thom Tillis in the U.S. Senate race. Tillis defeated Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Center for Responsive Politics published documents showing that Carolina Rising had used 97 percent of its revenue to pay for those ads, and that most of the money, $4.82 million, came from a single donor.

We might as well not even have a body like the FEC, if they can't (or won't) act on something so obviously unlawful. As far as reaching Woodhouse for a comment, he's probably passed out on a couch somewhere, sleeping off another celebratory drunk.

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