Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts

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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Law and the Courts Top Story

First Monday in October

The United States Supreme Court opens its new term on Monday, already loaded with blockbuster cases headed for argument in the first several weeks.

Some familiar issues -- voting rights, same-sex marriage, cell phone privacy, employee arbitration -- will all make an appearance early in the term.

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Lawmakers refuse to say how incumbent judges and D.A.’s fare in new maps; so we did it for you

Rep. Justin Burr (R-Stanly, Montgomery) said last week that the North Carolina House will pass legislation redrawing the maps under which state judges and district attorneys are elected without any information being made available to the public about ...
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Law and the Courts Top Story

NC’s gerrymandering saga: Where things stand and what’s next

The 2011 state legislative maps – which have been used in three separate election cycles and six statewide elections – are among the largest racial gerrymanders ever encountered by a federal court.

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Board of Education gets more time before possible transfer of power to Superintendent Mark Johnson

It will be at least another month before state Superintendent Mark Johnson can take over at the helm of the Department of Public Instruction, which leaves the Board of Education in charge of the state’s 1.5 million students and $10 billion budget.

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More with less: With $3 million in the balance, initial AG cuts take effect

Changes from a $7 million budget cut to the North Carolina Department of Justice went into effect Sept. 1 and as expected, people are making do with less.

“The work is still getting done,” said Laura Brewer, spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, adding that employees are committed to doing the work and serving the public.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

North Carolina voters give lawmakers tongue-lashing over new proposed legislative maps

North Carolina voters’ message to lawmakers Tuesday evening was clear: they’re unhappy with their representatives and they’re unhappy with the new proposed legislative maps.

Hundreds of speakers across the state attended public input hearings to speak about the maps, which were released over the weekend as a remedy to correct unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Merit or maps? Judges’ futures could come down to clashing legislative proposals

Senate favors form of merit selection for judges as alternative to House judicial redistricting bill

The fate of judicial selection in North Carolina may come down to a clash between the House and Senate.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Architect behind changes to NC judiciary late (again) in filing campaign finance report

North Carolinians hoping to find out who’s been funding Rep. Justin Burr’s crusade this legislative session to change the judiciary are in the dark.

The five-term Republican legislator from Stanly has not yet filed his mid-year semi-annual campaign finance report, according to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The report was due July 31.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

State courts attempting to cope as number of emergency judges is slashed by more than two-thirds

The General Assembly’s recent budget decision to slash the state’s corps of emergency judges has started to take effect.

According to the latest lists released by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), there are now only 10 active emergency superior court judges and 25 emergency district court judges. Prior to the July 1 effective date of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, there were 42 emergency superior court judges and 72 emergency district court judges. The new list reflects an overall reduction of 69.2%.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Republicans silent in wake of court order to draw new maps in one month

Republican legislative leaders are staying mum about a federal court ruling that requires them to submit new maps by September 1.

The date is almost three months in advance of the deadline they asked for, though the three-judge panel did deny a request for a special election – a win for GOP lawmakers who argued against such a request after delaying drawing new maps until the 11th hour.

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Courtroom rundown: Democrats show political disadvantage as judges scold GOP map delay

Democratic candidates are paralyzed until Republican lawmakers redraw the State House and Senate districts that were found to have been unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered.

The GOP partisan advantage in the absence of constitutional districts is so great that it’s driven opponents into the shadows and all but halted their fundraising efforts for the 2018 election, according to testimony during a federal court hearing Thursday.

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Attorney General Josh Stein scrambling to cover $10 million budget gap

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s most important job is to keep people safe.

For the Department of Justice, which he heads, that can mean helping to keep criminals behind bars, protecting residents’ drinking water...

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Trial judges gain new, valuable resources in Judicial Fellowship program

For the first time in a long time, trial judges in North Carolina have independent research assistance for complicated cases and questions of law. The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) launched the N.C. Judicial Fellowship program in April after a recommendation from the N.C. Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice (NCCALJ). The Fellowship is currently staffed by a director and four fellows, with four more to be added in August. Fellows provide independent legal research and writing support to the state’s 370-plus superior and district court judges. ...
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Law and the Courts Top Story

Gerrymandering, the courts and the next election in North Carolina: All of your burning questions answered

It’s been a little over a month since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that 28 state North Carolina House and Senate districts were racially gerrymandered but lawmakers have yet to draw new maps.

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