Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts

Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

North Carolina partisan gerrymandering trial could provide roadmap for other states

All eyes will be on North Carolina next week as partisan gerrymandering takes center stage, once again. The trial in the case of  Common Cause v. Lewis – the state constitutional partisan gerrymandering challenge – will begin at 10 a.m. Monday

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Will the Hofeller files make it to trial in partisan gerrymandering case?

North Carolina Republicans believe the files from deceased mapmaker Thomas Hofeller shouldn’t be used at the upcoming partisan gerrymandering trial because he’s not around to testify. “There are lots of things, your honors, that we are never going to know about those files and that, frankly, we can’t know about those files because Dr. Hofeller is not here to testify about them...

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Monday numbers: A look at Census data

The U.S. Supreme Court last week at least temporarily blocked the Trump Administration from asking a citizenship question on 2020 Census. Challengers to the question say it has driven fear into the immigrant community and could result in inaccurate data, which would mean less federal dollars in some areas.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

U.S. Supreme Court halts Trump Administration’s citizenship Census question for now

In a surprising move Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked the Trump Administration’s addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. It wasn’t the citizenship question in and of itself that gave the high court pause, but rather the rationale behind it, which Chief Justice John Roberts wrote “seems to have been contrived.”

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to address partisan gerrymandering fuels state court fight

The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative-leaning justices ruled Thursday that federal courts are incapable of solving partisan gerrymandering challenges. “Excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the 5-4 opinion. “But the fact that such gerrymandering is ‘incompatible with democratic principles’ does not mean that the solution lies with the federal judiciary. We conclude that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.

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Sheriffs and lawmakers clash as immigration bill passes Senate panel

Don’t call them urban sheriffs. Don’t refer to them as sanctuary sheriffs. And don’t identify them as super minority-majority sheriffs.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Hofeller files: Lawmakers lied to federal court in 2017, preventing NC from getting special election

The 2011 North Carolina legislative maps are among the largest racial gerrymanders ever encountered by a federal court, and the state could have held a special election under new voting districts, but GOP lawmakers lied about needing more ...
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NC officials dismiss hundreds of thousands of old court cases as part of massive data ‘clean-up’

The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has been quietly facilitating the dismissals of hundreds of thousands of criminal charges and infractions across the state for the past two years as part of a data clean-up effort. Each of the cases dismissed had been pending for years – some for decades – without prosecution...

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DACA, undocumented NC students ask lawmakers for same opportunities as peers

Jose Blanco dreams of being a U.S. Marine and fighting for the country he grew up in. “I just want to serve as much as a lot of people want to serve their country,” said the 17-year-old Porter Ridge High School student.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Judicial nominee Farr joins GOP defense team in redistricting litigation

It appears that Thomas Farr is back in the game – the North Carolina redistricting game, that is. The recent Trump nominee for a federal judgeship in North Carolina's Eastern District filed paperwork last week to appear in court on behalf of the GOP legislative defendants in Common Cause v. Lewis, a challenge to the 2017 legislative map on grounds that it violates the state constitution as an extreme partisan gerrymander.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

‘Reform is the answer:’ Voters gather at legislature to lobby for an end to gerrymandering

Redistricting reform is around the corner, and when it happens, it could move quickly – North Carolinians just have to think about what they want that reform to look like. “We do have a voice; we do have an opportunity,” said Bob Phillips, Executive Director of Common Cause North Carolina, a voting rights organization that has pushed for redistricting reform for over a decade.

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Gerrymandering lawsuit stunner: Daughter of deceased GOP mapmaker turns over his documents to Common Cause

The daughter of late GOP mapmaker Thomas Hofeller – the man is responsible for some of North Carolina’s most infamous gerrymanders – turned over four of his external hard drives and 18 thumb drives after his death to the plaintiffs suing North Carolina lawmakers. Stephanie Hofeller Lizon gave the documents to attorneys in March, a month after she was issued a subpoena...

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N.C. battles Trump administration in high-stakes census case

WASHINGTON — Census data shapes almost every corner of public life — from the amount of federal money funneled to school lunch programs, new bus routes and rural health clinics to the number of congressional seats allocated to a state.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Barber, other NC panelists at congressional hearing: Restore the Voting Rights Act

It would take eight years to undo what an unconstitutionally-elected GOP super-majority did to voting rights in North Carolina in the past several years, the Rev. William Barber II testified before a House congressional committee last week.

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Monday numbers: A closer look at the cost of excessive court debt

The ACLU of North Carolina released a report last week examining the true cost of excessive court debt to defendants. It documents hundreds of cases of people jailed over unpaid court debt...

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ACLU report: NC court fines, fees create modern-day debtor’s prison

The North Carolina General Assembly has spent the past few years making a concerted effort to impose increasing court fines and fees on poor defendants while giving judges less and less discretion to waive them in extenuating circumstances.

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