Defending Democracy

Defending Democracy

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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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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Billy Ball Commentary Defending Democracy Top Story

The case of the vanishing budget: How N.C.’s secretive budget “process” is bad for the public good

If, in this precise moment, you’re wondering where North Carolina’s multi-billion dollar budget is, the same one that sets crucial policy and spending parameters for state agencies, that dictates classroom funding levels for 1.5 million schoolchildren, that sets pay levels for thousands of state employees, retirees and teachers, it’s in the same place it’s always been.

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

Tillis touts his efforts to help Trump ‘remake the federal judiciary’

WASHINGTON – North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis declared his opposition last week to one of President Trump’s judicial nominees – a rare defection from a freshman Republican who touts his leadership of his party’s efforts to reshape the federal judiciary. Yet North Carolina Democrats are nonetheless gearing up to hit the senator, who is up for reelection next year, on his near-perfect record in support of the president’s lower-level judicial nominees – an issue that typically flies under the political radar.

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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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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

“Gerrymander” is much too polite a word for what Trump and the GOP are trying to do

For some time now, it has seemed that the widespread and growing use of the words “gerrymander” and “gerrymandering” was a good thing for our state and nation. A decade ago, these words were insider terms used only by campaign consultants and politics wonks. In recent years, however, as the public has finally started to grasp the reality of how electoral districts have come to be drawn and manipulated...

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Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Not so open: Critics say UNC Board of Governors excludes the public from its “public” meetings

Hoping to hear some discussion of the future of the “Silent Sam” Confederate monument, Lindsay Ayling and a few other UNC-Chapel Hill students attempted to attend last week’s meeting of the UNC Board of Governors. Attempted, as it turns out, was the operative word.

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Defending Democracy Radio Interviews

Senator Valerie Foushee

Senator Valerie Foushee discusses Medicaid expansion, redistricting reform, education funding and student activism at the University of North Carolina.

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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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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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