Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts

Featured Articles Law and the Courts

Three-judge panels to hear Constitutional arguments on laws passed by Republican legislature in surprise special session

North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin appointed three-judge panels this week in two cases challenging the constitutionality of laws passed by the Republican-led General Assembly in a surprise special session last month.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens temporarily blocked the implementation of the two laws last week – the first part of Senate Bill 4, which overhauls the State Board of Elections; and Section 4 of House Bill 17, which transfers power from the State Board of Education to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, a recently elected Republican.

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Featured Articles Law and the Courts

Lawsuits to keep an eye on in the New Year

With the New Year less than a week away, legal experts and advocates are planning to keep an eye on litigation likely to make an impact in 2017. Below are just some of the lawsuits they expect will be heard or decided in the next year and anticipated litigation that could arise in response to actions taken in 2016. Gerrymandering: There are several ongoing cases in North Carolina that involve partisan and racial gerrymandering claims. Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law, and Bob Phillips, executive director at Common Cause North Carolina, agree those cases will big ones to watch in 2017.

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Featured Articles Law and the Courts

Good concepts or bad – experts say politicizing the courts in special session detrimental to judicial independence, public perception

Court systems are complicated, and legislation like Senate Bill 4 should be thoughtful with an informative process that allows time for understanding and discussion – it shouldn’t be drafted in secret by one party and passed in a ...
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Will they or won’t they?

Court packing remains unclear, but damage to public confidence in politics, courts does not

With less than 24 hours to go until the Governor’s open-ended special legislative session, the public remains in the dark about whether lawmakers will make a power grab at the North Carolina Supreme Court by adding two justices.

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Law and the Courts

Groundswell of support for “raise the age” proposal could push legislation forward in next session

This year could finally be the year North Carolina raises the age at which juveniles are prosecuted as adults. Officials and advocates acknowledge they’ve heard that line before, but they also claim this year really is different. Why? ...
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Advocates, lawyers try to prepare for unclear immigration future

The future of immigrants in America is uncertain, to say the least. As the fear of mass deportations grows, so does the likelihood that immigrant communities will be forced to shrink back into the shadows.

President-elect Donald Trump made his stance on immigration clear during the election: he threatened more deportations, touted a plan to build an extensive wall between America and Mexico, and said he would add U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

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Featured Articles Law and the Courts

McCrory protests incorrectly accuse nearly half of voters in filings of having felonies

Barron McCollum received an official letter at 10 a.m. last week asking him to appear at a Forsyth County Board of Elections hearing at 9 a.m. that same day to defend his vote in the general election.

The 66-year-old Winston-Salem man had to call the local elections office twice before he received any information about what was going on, and what he actually got was scant: “Your case has been dismissed.”

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Featured Articles Law and the Courts

Election protesters: NCGOP attorneys supplied complaint information in governor’s race

Attorneys identified as representing the North Carolina Republican Party supplied information about potential voter fraud to residents and then asked them to sign protests before filing the paperwork with local election boards, according to election protesters.

Protesters in Craven, Cumberland, Forsyth and Hoke counties said they would not have filed election protests had the attorneys, who identified themselves as being associated with the NC GOP, not contacted them with the names of voters accused of fraud.

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Featured Articles Law and the Courts

Lawmakers differ on whether court-packing proposal is on the table

Veteran House member says matter explored in GOP caucus; others deny it

Republican legislative leaders have remained silent over the last week about whether or not a possible court-packing plan for the North Carolina Supreme Court could come to fruition at a special legislative session expected to be called early next month to deal with the impacts of Hurricane Matthew. Now, they’re making conflicting claims about where things stand.

House Republican Rep. Chuck McGrady from Henderson County said Thursday that expanding the state's highest court was discussed in House Republican caucus earlier this week, and while representatives were split on the issue, he didn't get a sense of momentum.

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Illustration of Mike Morgan and Bob Edmunds
Featured Articles Law and the Courts

GOP legislative leaders could make rare court-packing move to keep partisan control of state Supreme Court

North Carolina voters have spoken, and they tipped the state Supreme Court to a Democratic majority Tuesday, but there’s a possibility that the Republican-led legislature will attempt to gain partisan control again before the end of the year ...
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The men and the money behind North Carolina’s State Supreme Court race

How do you keep the North Carolina Supreme Court race nonpartisan when the ideological makeup of the bench hangs in the balance?

There’s not really an answer, especially this year, when so much is at stake and big outside money wants a say.

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Unusual NC Supreme Court action has significant impact on immigrants in legal system

Archie Nkiam was 22, going to school full-time for electrical engineering and working two jobs when he got caught up in the Wake County criminal justice system.

To his public defender, he was just an average kid who got carried away with the wrong crowd; book smart but not very street savvy.

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Law and the Courts

Judge Howard Manning steps away from landmark education case

Judge Howard Manning will no longer oversee Leandro v. State, the landmark education lawsuit that he has presided over for nearly 20 years. Manning made a request to be removed from the case, and Chief Justice Mark Martin ...
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McCrory seeks protection from explaining involvement in crafting HB2

Governor, legislative leaders claim communications are privileged

Gov. Pat McCrory has indicated in a court filing seeking legislative privilege that he had more to do with the preparation and introduction of House Bill 2 than he previously let on.

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First Monday in October: Cases to watch in the new U.S. Supreme Court term

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016-17 term will commence today, and experts agree that with the court one justice down, some hot-button issues may not be so hot this year. The court’s docket is by no means set, and while there are issues of race, religion and immigration to be reviewed, the 40 cases justices have agreed to hear are, for the most part, very technical.

The court appears to be avoiding extremely partisan cases because of its hobbled state since Justice Antonin Scalia’s death and its current 4-4 ideological split among justices, which could lead to deadlocks. That will soon be tested though when a decision is handed down about whether the court will take up Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., a bathroom policy issue involving a transgender student in Virginia.

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Featured Articles Law and the Courts

HB2 update: Inside the federal courthouse at yesterday’s hearing

With elbow-length winter-white hair, and wearing black shorts and a sleeveless shirt, Hunter Schaefer looked vaguely Nordic. Her celery-thin legs were jammed into thick-soled, black platform shoes, and, like many girls and boys in their early teens, she seemed coltish.

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