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Thursday News: Show me your papers, Part 17

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U.S. SUPREME COURT TO DECIDE IF BERGERMOORE CAN DEFEND VOTER ID: In a surprise pre-Thanksgiving order, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Berger v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, stemming from a dispute over a North Carolina voter id law. The dispute is not about the underlying voter id law itself, but about the ability of the state legislature to intervene in defending the law against challenges. This is a fairly common problem we see today where a state executive (governor and/or attorney general) is a Democrat and the state legislature is controlled by Republicans, and there’s a dispute over who gets to speak for the state. Back in 2017, I wrote a Slate piece urging North Carolina’s governor to withdraw a cert. petition over North Carolina’s very strict voter id law after the 4th Circuit struck parts of it (calling them targeted at African-American voters with almost surgical precision). There was then a dispute in the Supreme Court over who gets to speak for North Carolina, and the Court, seeing the dispute, denied cert. Chief Justice Roberts was irked, and issued a statement saying that the denial was because of the dispute, not the merits. Hopefully Roberts will keep his partisan justices under some semblance of control.
https://electionlawblog.org/?p=125974

Wednesday News: It's a long Arc

IDIOT FROM CARY ARRESTED FOR TAKING PART IN INSURRECTION: A 19-year-old man from Cary was arrested Monday for assaulting law enforcement and other crimes during the Jan. 6 riots in which supporters of former President Trump breached the U.S. Capitol. Aiden Henry Bilyard was arrested by federal investigators in Raleigh and was released, the U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday. Bilyard is charged with physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, civil disorder, and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers with a dangerous weapon among other misdemeanors, according to a news release. The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Bilyard following an investigation of social media accounts with aid from online sleuths, according to Huff Post, who first reported the news. Rule #1 of Insurrection Club: don't talk about Insurrection Club on Facebook. Dumbass.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/crime/article256075822.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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ON MEDICAID EXPANSION, LET OUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES VOTE: In the North Carolina House of Representatives it takes 61 votes to pass a state budget bill – assuming all 120 members are present and voting. It takes the same number of votes to amend such a bill, say to add an item, delete an item or to increase or decrease the amount of spending on any provision. There is nothing in the law or rules of the House that say it requires a certain number of Democrats or Republicans to make up those 61 votes. That may be somewhat of a surprise to House Speaker Tim Moore, who says he won’t allow a vote on getting Medicaid expansion. Moore says his Republican Party caucus won’t support expansion. In a Tweet last week, Gov. Roy Cooper termed Moore’s reasoning a bit differently. “The speaker could not get enough Republican House members to support it,” Cooper said. Now, there are 69 Republicans and 51 Democrats in the state House. Does anyone, right now, know just how many of those Republicans and Democrats are supporting Medicaid Expansion? Let’s do something that is supposed to happen in a REAL democracy. How about letting the people North Carolinians elected to represent them stand up and be counted. Let them vote on Medicaid expansion. Reading the bitter tea leaves of our Orwellian GOP leaders leads me to one conclusion: there actually *are* enough Republican votes to reach that 61 vote margin, which is why Moore doesn't want them to vote on Medicaid expansion. That is not democracy, it's oligarchy; being governed by a handful of elites. Calling it anything else is merely lipstick on a pig.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-on-medicaid-expansion-let-legislators-vote/19983779/

Saturday News: Götterdämmerung

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MADISON CAWTHORN HAS A HARD-ON FOR KYLE RITTENHOUSE: Rittenhouse faced charges for shooting three people during turbulent protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year, killing two and wounding the other. A jury found Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges on Friday. On Instagram, Cawthorn said in a video: “Kyle Rittenhouse is not guilty, my friends. You have a right to defend yourselves. Be armed, be dangerous and be moral.” In a text box, Cawthorn told Rittenhouse to reach out if he wanted an internship. Cawthorn, 26, drew a passionate mix of reactions last week when he announced he would run in North Carolina’s new 13th District. I won't link to it, but Dallas Woodhouse cut loose on Cawthorn in a Carolina Journal oped a few days ago. Not that I expect them to, but rank-and-file Republicans need to reject this idiot's philosophy, before the bodies start piling up.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article255964907.html

Friday News: Iconic

GK BUTTERFIELD ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT AFTER GOP NIXES MAJORITY-MINORITY DISTRICT: U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield announced Thursday he will retire from Congress, accusing the North Carolina General Assembly of racially gerrymandering new political maps that leave him in a less favorable district. Butterfield, a 74-year-old Democrat from Wilson who has served in Congress since 2004, is a civil rights advocate and former judge. He currently serves in North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, which stretches through Eastern North Carolina. “The map that was recently enacted by the legislature is a partisan map,” Butterfield said in a video announcing his retirement. “It is racially gerrymandered. It will disadvantage African American communities all across the 1st Congressional District." If they are allowed to do this, Congress will see a whitewashing that hasn't happened for over half a century.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article255896141.html

Thursday News: It's worse than you think

NEW GERRYMANDERING LAWSUIT EXPOSES REPUBLICAN CHEATING: The lawsuit claims that even if Democratic candidates were to win the statewide vote by a significant margin, it still wouldn’t be enough to take control of the legislature. “Indeed, it would likely take a statewide win by at least seven points for the minority party to have a chance to elect a majority of the seats in any of those chambers — something that never happens in a state as 50-50 as North Carolina,” a press release announcing the lawsuit said. Republicans could expect to win 60% of the legislative races — enough for a veto-proof supermajority — with just 50% of the statewide vote, one of the filings in the lawsuit claims. If they win, the challengers say the legislature should be forced to redraw new, fairer maps — and that if they don’t, then a court should replace the current maps with the ones the challengers drew. Looks like it's Special Master time again...
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article255890486.html

Wednesday News: Leadership

GOVERNOR COOPER SET TO SIGN BUDGET INTO LAW: “I will sign this budget, because on balance the good outweighs the bad,” Cooper said, adding that it moves North Carolina forward in important ways, “many that are critical to our state’s progress as we are emerging from this pandemic.” “While I believe that it is a budget of some missed opportunities and misguided policy, it is also a budget that we desperately need at this unique time in the history of our state,” Cooper said. Cooper cites raises for state employees and tax relief for “everyday North Carolinians” among the reasons for supporting it. He added the caveat that he is “clear-eyed there are ways we differ,” including that the budget does not include Medicaid expansion. It also has an ugly poison pill, taking away some of his emergency powers. But like any good leader, he puts the needs of others over his own.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article255861576.html

Monday News: Toxic red tide

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REPUBLICANS' LOOK TO NC SUBURBS TO REGAIN SUPERMAJORITY: “The most competitive region in this state, in terms of voting patterns, are those ‘urban suburbs,’” said Michael Bitzer, a political scientist at Catawba College. “The places outside the urban centers of Raleigh and Charlotte, but still in the county.” Reflecting that reality are the new political maps Republican state lawmakers passed last month, both for their own districts and for the congressional districts. There are almost no competitive seats in any of those maps, with most elections likely to be decided in the primary in March, not the general election in November. With the maps already favoring Republicans even in a 50-50 year, and with 2022 looking like it could be a strong year for Republicans, some Democrats are starting to raise alarms about those suburban districts that could be in play next year. “You’ve got to make sure they don’t have veto-proof supermajorities,” said Thomas Mills, a longtime Democratic consultant who runs the blog Politics NC. “That’s got to be the Democrats’ first goal.” I agree with Thomas, preserving Governor Cooper's Veto power is critical.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article255741861.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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THE NC GENERAL ASSEMBLY IS UNDERMINING THE RULE OF LAW: From our founding, our state constitution has given an independent judiciary the solemn duty to declare what is the law for every case that comes before it, including whether or not an act by either the executive or legislative branches violates the constitution. The judiciary is accountable to the rule of law and not to the legislative or executive branches. Once the judiciary has established the rule of law for the case, the legislative and executive branches of government hold the companion duty to assure the rule of law is fully implemented. This principle is fundamental to our democracy. That legislators believe they can ignore constitutional obligations without check by the courts should profoundly disturb all citizens. That some legislators demeaned a judge acting in accordance with law, thereby undermining judicial independence and authority, is equally disturbing. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. GOP leaders have behaved like tyrants for over a decade, and would have been infinitely worse if not for the Judicial Branch. Of course they attack Judge Lee, because he represents their only obstacle to complete domination, our Constitution itself.
https://www.wral.com/burley-mitchell-henry-van-hoy-general-assembly-undermines-rule-of-law/19967646/

Saturday News: Total Capitulation

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TIM MOORE IS AFRAID TO RUN AGAINST MADISON CAWTHORN: In Cawthorn’s announcement, he did not mention Moore by name, but he said he was worried about an “establishment” Republican prevailing in the 13th district if he did not run. “Knowing the political realities of the 13th district, I am afraid that another establishment, go-along to get-along Republican would prevail there. I will not let that happen,” Cawthorn said in a video announcement. Saine and Moore were at a fundraiser in the Outer Banks with other lawmakers on Thursday night when the news broke, first of Cawthorn’s change and then of Moore’s decision not to run for Congress. “I told him that he’s my speaker and has done a good job. I haven’t heard any announcement to the contrary and he continues to have my support as speaker,” Saine said. Yeah, you can play it like that 'til the cows come home, but everybody knows the deal. Afraid of a nut-job in a wheelchair, and afraid Trump will choose the crazy one to support. Which he would, of course.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article255751846.html

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