Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts

An in-depth look at N.C. lawmakers’ attempt to shrink the Court of Appeals

Each of the 15 North Carolina Court of Appeals judges writes on average about 100 opinions per year.

When former Judge Linda Stephens used to explain the court’s workload to students, she’d often compare opinions to term papers.

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Law and the Courts

Cooper-legislature power struggle unfolds at trial addressing constitutional questions

The leadership battle between North Carolina’s executive and legislative branches came to a head Tuesday in what one judge described as a historic separation of powers case.

Gov. Roy Cooper sued legislative leaders, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, in response to new statutes enacted during a special session in December before he took office that reduce his powers.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Larry Hall wins unanimous committee approval for Veteran Affairs post

Decked out in ‘Marine Corps red,’ nominee impresses Senate committee

Larry Hall stood tall Thursday in a bright red jacket holding a cigar in one hand and a similar-colored cover in the other. He had just been recommended by a Senate committee for confirmation as Secretary of the state Department of Military and Veteran Affairs.

“This is Marine Corps red,” Hall told a reporter. “The Marine Corps has a tradition you’ll notice, usually it’s a red stripe down the dress blue trousers, and that’s a blood stripe.”

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Law and the Courts Top Story

As bipartisan support for redistricting grows, community rallies around issue in effort to get lawmakers’ attention

When the Democrats were the majority party at the North Carolina General Assembly, Republicans wanted redistricting reform. Now that the Republicans are at the helm of power, Democrats want redistricting reform.

But advocates say gerrymandering is not a partisan issue, and if redistricting reform isn’t passed soon, it will permanently corrode the public’s confidence in elections.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

As senators subpoena Cooper cabinet pick, experts weigh legal options, potential outcomes

Larry Hall, a former legislator and Gov. Roy Cooper’s choice to head the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, has been subpoenaed by a Senate committee but he may not be legally obligated to appear.

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Featured Articles Law and the Courts

Republicans target non-surgical abortions in latest move to restrict reproductive rights

North Carolina Republican legislators appear to have found a new way to interfere with women’s reproductive rights – this time potentially eliminating the option of a non-invasive abortion for women during the first trimester of pregnancy.

House Bill 62 would require doctors to tell women seeking a non-invasive medical abortion that they could reverse the process halfway through – advice that is medically unproven.

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Featured Articles Law and the Courts

Cooper tries again to broker a deal to repeal HB2

Step 1: Repeal House Bill 2, North Carolina’s sweeping anti-LGBTQ legislation.

Step 2: Strengthen penalties for individuals who perpetrate crimes that violate the safety, security and privacy of people in public bathrooms or dressing rooms.

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Featured Articles Law and the Courts Trump Administration

Fear of Trump immigration order in NC spreads as potential human costs emerge

President Donald Trump has paid a lot of lip service to rounding up the “bad hombres” but it turns out he wants to deport a much larger group of immigrants than he led America to believe.

Trump signed an executive order in January to enhance “public safety in the interior of the United States.” The order did away a previous deportation priority list promulgated former President Barack Obama’s administration and is expected to have dire consequences for a majority of unauthorized immigrants, not just individuals with criminal convictions.

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Featured Articles Law and the Courts Trump Administration

The path forward: Debate over voting rights to remain contentious; “Raise the age,” technological advances face smoother sailing

North Carolina residents know well what happens when a politician throws around claims of voter fraud without actually verifying the validity of such notions.

When former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory was losing during the last election, his team took extreme measures and latched on to any allegation of voter fraud researchers could dig up.

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Featured Articles Law and the Courts Trump Administration

Conservative U.S. Supreme Court pick will face Democratic concern for the underrepresented, fallout over stolen seat

Conservative federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch was nominated Tuesday by President Donald Trump to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant for almost a year after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump made the announcement ...
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Featured Articles Law and the Courts Trump Administration

The Path Forward: Court cases clear, outcomes up in the air

There is a good bit of uncertainty in North Carolina when it comes to the courts despite a very clear agenda on the path forward.

The two issues that will almost certainly dominate headlines this year are the power clashes between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican legislative leaders and redistricting. Of the eight pending cases covering those issues, there is one outcome experts expect but the other results are anyone’s guess.

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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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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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