Archives by: Melissa Boughton

Melissa Boughton

About the author

Melissa Boughton, Courts and Law Reporter, joined N.C. Policy Watch in September 2016. She covers local, state and federal courts and writes about key decisions that impact the lives of North Carolinians. Before joining the project, Melissa worked the crime and courts beats at The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.; The Winchester Star in Winchester, Va.; and The Kerrville Daily Times in Kerrville, TX. While reporting in Charleston, she covered the Emanuel church shootings and the police killing of Walter Scott. She was part of the team that was named a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in breaking news reporting for coverage of Scott’s death.


melissa@ncpolicywatch.com

919-861-1454


Melissa Boughton's articles and posts

Top Story

Maps, mayhem and merriment: Where things stand with North Carolina redistricting

If the General Assembly were an army, their troops would be spread too thin. Lawmakers made a tactical decision this year to redraw judicial district boundaries. On another battle front, they’re trying to correct several previous mapmaking mistakes: Unconstitutional legislative and congressional redistricting, the latter of which they’re still disputing in court.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Monday numbers

157 – days since the state budget bill became law containing a provision that makes it more difficult for judges to waive fees for indigent defendants (North Carolina General Assembly)

4 – days since the fee waiver provision went into effect (NCGA)

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Law and the Courts Top Story

The sound of silence: Judges all but muzzled in complaints against lawmakers

Judges are considered to be in command of their courtrooms. But when state legislators pass laws attacking them— shortening their terms, shrinking the appellate court — judges are no longer in charge and have few ways to defend themselves.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Updated maps: Where judges land in judicial redistricting bill to be considered by Senate

Few issues in the North Carolina’s contentious policy wars have been more consistently front and center during the past year than the future of the state judiciary.

The battle was first joined during a series of special legislative sessions that were called after the 2016 election and has continued...

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Merit selection still cloaked in secrecy as Senate committee takes on ‘judicial reform’

Several North Carolina Senate members have discussed details about what a potential merit selection plan for judges would look like, but few if any have seen anything concrete.

NC Policy Watch obtained copies of proposals that indicate there are at least two merit selection plans drafted to replace Article IV, Section 16 of the North Carolina Constitution. Whether either of those plans will be presented to the public remains to be seen.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

The untouchables: Legislation targeting judiciary, judges excludes business court

When GOP lawmakers began to dismantle and politicize the judiciary this year, North Carolina's business community and an insulated business court chose to remain silent.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Federal court appoints special master to decide if NC racial gerrymanders remain unconstitutional

A federal court has found it to be likely that lawmakers did not remedy unconstitutional racial gerrymanders in nine state House and Senate districts, and has appointed a special master to help it make a final determination. Stanford Law School professor Nathaniel Persily will “assist the Court in further evaluating and, if necessary, redrawing the [districts in question] by developing an appropriate plan remedying the constitutional violations,” according to an order filed Thursday.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Searching for the ‘Holy Grail’ in partisan gerrymandering standards: An update from the federal trial in Greensboro

A court really shouldn’t shirk away from making a finding about a constitutional violation just because it may be difficult, said the lead judge on a federal panel reviewing two North Carolina partisan gerrymandering cases.

Chief District Judge William Lindsay Osteen Jr., who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, was responding Thursday to an argument by Phil Strach, who represents North Carolina’s legislature in both of the cases, which went to trial at the same time this week.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Experts express concerns about consequences of eliminating judicial primary elections

North Carolinians will lose their “precious right to vote,” as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg calls it, in at least one election next year if lawmakers override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 656.

“The Electoral Freedom Act” eliminates next year’s primary election for...

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Will partisan gerrymandering survive? Our report from yesterday’s argument at the U.S. Supreme Court

The majority of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court made clear Tuesday that partisan gerrymandering is distasteful and does a disservice to voters, but it remains unclear if they will intervene.

“Could you tell me what the value is to democracy from political gerrymandering?” asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor. “How does that help our system of government?”

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