Justin Burr's mysterious crusade against sitting judges

Hat-tip to NC Policy Watch for exploring this nonsense:

More than 100 judges with thousands of years of combined experience could be wiped from the North Carolina bench by a bail bond agent who has served less than a decade in the General Assembly, and no one really knows why. Many judges learned of their potential unemployment on Twitter last summer when Rep. Justin Burr (a private bail bond agent by profession) unveiled his surprise judicial redistricting plan. They’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on ever since.

“It’s stressful because it’s created this cloud of anxiety since June about what are they going to do next. Do I have to move? What do I have to do?” said District Court Judge Robin Wicks Robinson, who serves New Hanover and Pender counties. “There is a powerlessness feeling and feeling of anxiety that overwhelms.”

Understand, double-bunking at such a high rate does not happen by accident, it requires a design. An intentional effort to create a new batch of judges in a system that is already crushed under poor funding and a growing caseload. And it should come as no surprise that the people who will suffer the most under this plan are on the low end of the economic spectrum:

Monday News: Resistance has a leader

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JOSH STEIN STANDS UP AGAINST THE WORST OF TRUMP'S AGENDA: During his first 16 months in office, Stein has been on the front lines with a troop of Democratic attorneys general firing off a slew of lawsuits, targeted complaints and other actions against the Trump administration. “To me, it’s not about fighting the Trump administration, it’s about standing up for the people of North Carolina,” Stein said recently. Stein has joined the group to oppose offshore drilling, education policies, a travel ban and the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. At the beginning of the month Stein fought the administration’s plans to try to block a question about citizenship from the 2020 Census questionnaire. Not even a whole week later, he joined other states with Democratic attorneys general in a pushback against a Texas lawsuit attempting to further dismantle the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama's signature health legislation.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article209284739.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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DUKE ENERGY, NOT RATEPAYERS, SHOULD PAY FOR COAL ASH MISMANAGEMENT: Is it fair that North Carolina consumers, who already paid for electric power produced at Duke Energy’s coal-burning power plants as long as 70 years ago, get another bill to pay for the company’s management failures that led to spills and contamination from coal ash storage facilities? Imagine the outrage if years after consumers filled up their cars with gasoline they got a bill demanding more money for that same gasoline because there was an accident at a refinery. That’s just what Duke Energy’s managed to achieve, with the help of North Carolina’s utilities Commission. A couple of months ago the Commission approved a rate increase on consumers in the eastern half of the state. While it was less than Duke initially asked for, it included about $230 million to pay for coal ash removal while at the same time imposing a $30 million penalty for failure in coal ash management.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-duke-energy-not-ratepayers-should-pay-for-coal-ash-mismanagement/1751...

Jason Saine and the ALEC Emperor's new clothes

See below for the stylish details:

Saturday News: Shameless

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WALKER CAMPAIGN BRAGS ABOUT RECORD-BREAKING $650,000 PENCE LUNCHEON: U.S. Rep. Mark Walker and other North Carolina Republicans believe his April 20 luncheon with Vice President Mike Pence in Greensboro was the most lucrative fundraising event for a U.S. House race in state history. "By being the first to bring Vice President Pence to our state and raising more than $650,000 in a single lunch event – one of the largest congressional fundraisers in North Carolina history – he has established himself as a critical leader in helping conservatives retain majorities both statewide and nationally," said Jack Minor Jr., a Walker spokesman. The $650,000 total roughly equaled the total his campaign had raised so far, according to campaign filings through March.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article209970629.html

Judicial Reform

My takeaway from today's Joint Committee on Judicial Reform and Redistricting is this. Repeatedly, comments were made by Republican reps & senators that the current process wasn't transparent or open to the public, and that allowing 'a bunch of lawyers' who were members of the local bar to submit recommended names to the governor for appointment to a vacancy on the bench was like letting the lawyers pick their own judges.

Deported combat veteran dies on the way back to the U.S.

We should be ashamed of ourselves:

Veteran Lance Cpl. Enrique Salas' flag-draped casket was loaded into a hearse with a Marine Corps seal and two miniature American flags protruding from either window. Salas finally made it home to the central San Joaquin Valley in California the only way he could. The Persian Gulf War veteran, who was deported to Mexico in 2006, was buried with military honors in a Reedley cemetery on April 20 beside his younger brother, another fallen Marine.

Salas is among up to 1,500 U.S. veterans who have been deported, Franco said, with an estimated 200 to 300 alive and known by the Committee on Deported Veterans. Franco, who is running for Congress against incumbent Rep. Devin Nunes, said it's hard to get an exact number because immigration officials and the Department of Veterans Affairs don't keep track of how many deportees are veterans.

This is a tragedy, but it''s also a travesty. You put your life on the line for *your* country, the absolute least they should do is grant you citizenship. I'll leave it at that for now, because my blood is boiling and I don't trust my typing fingers to hold back.

Friday News: Environmental Justice

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JURY PUNISHES SMITHFIELD IN HOG NUISANCE LAWSUIT TO THE TUNE OF $50 MILLION: A federal jury in North Carolina is awarding more than $50 million in damages to neighbors of an industrial hog operation responsible for smells, noise and other disturbances so bad they couldn’t enjoy their rural homes. Jurors on Thursday awarded 10 neighbors of a 15,000-head swine operation a total of $750,000 in compensation plus $50 million in damages designed to punish the hog-production division of Virginia-based Smithfield Foods. Lawyers didn’t sue the farm’s owner, instead targeting the Chinese-owned corporation. Smithfield uses strict contracts to dictate how farm operators raise livestock the company owns. The decision is the first in dozens of nuisance lawsuits filed by more than 500 neighbors against hog operations. Smithfield says the lawsuits are a serious threat to a major agricultural industry and employer in North Carolina.
http://www.thetimesnews.com/news/20180426/nc-jury-hits-pork-giant-for-50m-for-hog-operations-nuisance

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