Republican bullies

Another GOP power grab under scrutiny by the court today

When your arrogance far outweighs your common sense:

A three-judge panel will take up motions to dispose of two issues in the separation of powers case, Cooper v. Berger. The first issue involves House Bill 239, a measure that reduced the Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12, and the second involves a voucher mandate in the budget bill, Senate Bill 257. Cooper argues that Section 1 of HB239 purports to shorten three appellate judicial terms to fewer than eight years. He asks the court to declare it unconstitutional and therefore “void and of no effect.”

As for the voucher mandate, Cooper argues that it’s unconstitutional because the General Assembly mandated what he could include in his base budget. “By mandating what the Governor must include in his proposed budget, the General Assembly is exercising core executive power in violation of separation of powers,” the complaint states.

The key word there is "proposed." The Governor's budget proposal is non-binding. The General Assembly is free to write a completely different Budget, which incorporates little or nothing from what the Governor asks for. By dictating what the Governor must ask for, this bill amounts to a contradictory and oxymoronic "forced bi-partisanship." Allowing Republicans to disingenuously claim "Both we and the Governor support this funding." This is the kind of crap military juntas in third-world countries pull to control their civilian figurehead leaders. And the fact that it has become second nature to NC's GOP cabal should scare the living hell out of everybody.

Dallas Woodhouse files complaint against Indivisible Flip NC

Alternate headline: Pot Calls Kettle Black:

A complaint filed with the state Board of Elections on Tuesday alleges that Indivisible - Flip NC has been raising money and improperly coordinating efforts with the state Democratic Party without filing paperwork with the elections board and disclosing its donors. The complaint was filed by Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party.

Republicans in suburban areas tend to be the most vulnerable. And Flip NC appears to specifically target at least one suburban Republican: Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary. “If we are going to have rules they have to apply equally to all,” Woodhouse said in an email.

Oh, that's just rich as hell. Over the last 6-8 years, Woodhouse has controlled so much dark money he could have easily launched his own fucking rocket, with that Americans For the Prosperous bus perched on its nose. If (and it's a big "if") the organizers of Indivisible Flip NC have failed to file the proper paperwork, it's due to inexperience, not an effort to conceal the identity (and thus motives) of billionaires and other uber-wealthy anti-democratic potentates. More whining:

Republican attacks on NC's judiciary most extreme in the nation

Not just pruning back the branch, they're trying to break it off:

Republicans haven’t hidden their displeasure with what they call judicial activism. Last February, Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore lashed out at three state judges who sided with Democratic Governor Roy Cooper in a dispute over his appointment powers. “If these three men want to make laws, they should hang up their robes and run for a legislative seat,” the duo said in a statement.

“They have firebombed the courthouses across the state, creating chaos, and I think it’s all to gain partisan advantage,” says State Representative Marcia Morey, a Democrat who spent almost two decades as a judge. “They have not liked case decisions, and they need to get friendly judges in there.”

And once again, I can't help but see parallels between what the NC GOP is doing, and what authoritarian regimes in other countries do. They purge hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of experienced judges and replace them with unqualified political hacks, so there's nobody left to question their undemocratic behavior. Republicans have been whittling away at NC's judiciary since they took over in 2011, but it looks like 2018 may be when they try to deliver their merciless version of a coup de grâce:

Charlotte Council member Lawana Mayfield boycotts restaurant

Reclaiming her time in the face of bigotry:

While she has not patronized any of Noble’s restaurants since 2015, she said she spoke out now because of Noble’s plans to open a business in the district she represents. “Any business that is within my district where I know that they signed on to the letter to support discrimination through legislation, I will not patronize knowingly,” she said. She said she knows of no other business in her district whose owner signed it.

Noble, who is also an ordained minister, was one of 94 signers of the letter, including prominent Christian conservatives such as Dr. Mark Creech of the Christian Action League of North Carolina. Others included business owners, realtors, educators, medical professionals and two captains for USAirways/American Airlines. The only restaurant owners were Noble and Joseph Acovski of Joey’s Fine Food and Pizza in Denver, N.C.

I know many of my friends in political circles are exhausted after the bitter fighting over HB2, but the truth is, bigots like Noble pretty much won that war. HB142 wasn't even really a compromise, it was a victory of form over substance. Lawana was right to vocalize her opposition to patronizing this establishment, because there are over 90,000 LGBTQ folks living in the Charlotte Metropolitan area, and they deserve to know which businesses hold them in contempt, and actively work to deny them rights. And there's something else this story exposes, the dangers of government relying on religious institutions to provide services to the poor:

Jerry Tillman admits judicial redistricting is partisan power grab

The word you're trying to recall is "Brazen."

One of the legislative proposals is a bill that changes the configuration of superior court, district court and prosecutorial districts across the state. At last week’s meeting, Asheboro attorney Jon Megerian said the changes were designed to get more Republican judges elected. In a weekend interview, Tillman did not argue with that notion.

“All redistricting, whether it be Republicans or Democrats, they are partisan activities,” he said. “The Constitution says the winning party will do that. It’s a partisan activity that goes to the winning party in the election."

“If it’s partisan, you’re going to draw them to your advantage if you can. It’s our job and our time and our responsibility to do exactly that.”

There is a deep logical fallacy in the "I've been given power by gerrymandering which gives me the right to gerrymander" position, but I can't pin the damn thing down. Something something in Latin, how's that?

Primer on the NC GOP's war on the court system

gavelbanging.jpg

A systematic and sustained effort to subvert the judiciary:

Number of actions they've taken in recent years to change the makeup and independence of state, district and local courts: at least 12

Date on which the N.C. legislature sustained a bill eliminating judicial primary elections that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper had vetoed: 10/16/2017

Days later that they introduced a bill to wipe out the terms of all state judges, from the N.C. Supreme Court to the district courts, at the close of 2018 and require them to run again: 1

Hat-tip to the Institute for Southern Studies for compiling this list. Every single one of those Legislative Republicans who are licensed attorneys should be disbarred for these attacks, or at least formally (and loudly) censured by the NC Bar Association. Follow the link to see the true depth of the GOP's meddling, but here's another taste:

NC Republicans jump the shark on judicial elections

Trying to slash their terms to two years:

Chairmen of the House and Senate rules committees released a proposal Tuesday that would reduce terms for trial and appeals court judges to two years. District Court judges currently serve four-year terms, while Superior Court and Court of Appeals judges and Supreme Court justices get eight-year terms.

Under the proposal, voters would decide in May whether to reduce the terms and put all incumbents up for re-election the following November. Legislative support for the bill is unclear, and a news release announcing the bill suggests it could be designed to spite Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

These guys are simply out of control. Probably 95% of North Carolinians would prefer to see less politics influencing the judiciary, but forcing these judges to run every two years will put them on a constant campaign footing, just like Congress and the Legislature. They're literally turning into gameshow hosts with their behavior, circulating rumors of taking away judicial elections completely, and then opening the curtains with flair proclaiming, "Even more elections! Elections all the time! Whee!" Dog help us.

The unmitigated arrogance of the power-mad NC GOP

Stripping more authority from Governor Cooper:

Exploring the rise of Unaffiliated voters in NC

Fiercely independent or simply tired of the drama?

North Carolina political scientists, activists and strategists said in interviews there are political and societal reasons for the shift. Having no affiliation also can be attractive because these voters can choose to participate in either the Democratic or Republican primary — so candidates from the parties must keep learning how to win their support.

The bitter political atmosphere within the two-party system is a likely cause for the shift, said Michael Bitzer, a Catawba College politics professor studying registration trends. Forty percent of the registered voters known as millennials — those born since 1981 — are unaffiliated and the largest bloc among their age group, according to Bitzer’s research. “Being children of political polarization, maybe this is a clear sign that they are not willing to associate with either party,” Bitzer said, noting these voters aren’t necessarily moderates: “Being unaffiliated does not mean you’re not partisan.”

But it does mean expecting candidates to figure out what you want, in the absence of any defining trait, is somewhere between unwise and disingenuous. I will accept the Democratic Party hasn't always communicated a clear and concise message about what we stand for, but I also believe many new voters are afraid to align themselves with anything, for fear of ending up on the "losing" side. What we need to do (as always) is better articulate the dangers of GOP policies while also formulating and highlighting genuine alternatives to those policies. Because without the beef, it's just an insult sandwich that nobody wants to continue eating.

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