Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts Top Story

Dreamers’ lives hang in the balance as Supreme Court reviews Trump’s attempt to end DACA

Any protection the courts offer Dreamers is temporary, but all eyes are on the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether it will take on the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

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Courts in Crisis Top Story

Keeping up with the…judicial maps – There are now more than there are Kardashians

Lawmakers late last week released two new versions of a judicial redistricting bill, making these the eighth and ninth maps released since last summer.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Local officials voice opposition to judiciary overhaul as issue resurfaces at General Assembly

As lawmakers prepare to vote later this week on measures that are a secret to the rest of North Carolina, there is fear in some circles judicial reform could be put back on the table. House, Senate and joint committees have been talking about judicial redistricting and judicial selection for months without agreement between the two chambers.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

The state of NC’s redistricting battles: A litigation cheat sheet for those trying to keep track

North Carolina’s redistricting plans have drawn major court involvement over the last few years, and it’s not looking promising that trend will change in 2018. There are five pending redistricting cases, four of which have had some action in the past month and it’s not easy to keep them straight.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

The “double-bunkings” continue: An analysis of the G.A.’s latest proposed judicial maps

How many maps does it take to hit the sweet spot when it comes to judicial redistricting? Your guess is as good as anyone’s. Rep. Justin Burr (R-Stanly, Montgomery) unveiled another round of judicial and prosecutorial maps this ...
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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Hopeful developments in the effort to rein in gerrymandering

Progress in rooting out North Carolina’s gerrymandered voting districts hasn’t always occurred in a straight line. But the trend – thanks to federal judges honoring their duty to uphold the Constitution – bodes well for giving all voters an equal chance to help choose their leaders.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Could judicial reform lead to Supreme Court packing? Former judge thinks so

Nothing is off the table when it comes to Republican judicial reform, and a former Wake County judge thinks court packing may still be an option. Donald Stephens has been using his newfound retirement to speak out against changes to the judiciary that could result in less independence for the coequal branch of government.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Can North Carolina change the way district court judges are elected without a constitutional amendment?

There’s a new rumor afoot about judicial reform that lawmakers may try to pass a judicial appointment system that only affects district court judges. The plan is apparently premised on the notion that the state constitution allows such action without voter consent. The Senate has been floating “merit” selection for the better part of half a year and evaluating different forms of judicial reform since the latter part of last year. House Republicans prefer judicial redistricting.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Haven’t read yesterday’s 205-page partisan gerrymandering ruling? We’ve got you covered

Three federal judges agree: North Carolina Republican lawmakers drew a congressional map that intentionally discriminated against voters and entrenched their party’s power.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Special master’s maps focus in latest court battle over racial gerrymandering

The best defense is a good offense, and lawmakers are trying that strategy in federal court.

Their attorneys spent Friday attacking the job of special master Nathaniel Persily, who was tasked by a federal court with redrawing several legislative districts to correct unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Familiar issues likely to highlight NC courts news in 2018

New Year, new … wait a minute. It’s looking more like this year’s legislative motto will be “New Year, same me.”

It’s fully expected that lawmakers will continue building on many of the same themes North Carolinians saw in 2017, starting with their continued vice grip on the courts. Though it’s possible their fingers may be pried open by several court decisions expected in the first half of the year.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

A look back at this year’s top justice news

Determining this year’s biggest justice news is like tip-toeing through a minefield without detonating a bomb.

Republican lawmakers went all in on the state’s judiciary – they worked hard to pass laws that cater to their needs and they worked even harder to make sure judges think twice before overturning those laws.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Berger, Moore lob political attacks in response to demise of the death penalty

While North Carolinians inch further from the death penalty, Republican legislative leaders are forward marching toward execution.

The state hasn’t put anyone to death since 2006 because of pending litigation over numerous legal issues – including lethal injection practices and racial bias at trials...

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts 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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Defending Democracy 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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