Commentary, Special Session

Watchdog groups: Special session courts/elections legislation is “shameful,” “deceitful”

It’s hard to overstate just how far beneath contempt the behavior of the North Carolina General Assembly has been during the last 24 hours, but a pair of statements from two of the state’s leading nonpartisan watchdog groups — Democracy North Carolina and the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina — do a good job of explaining just outrageous the badly misnamed “Bi-Partisan Ethics, Elections & Court Reform Act” is.

This is from Democracy NC’s Bob Hall — the man who lead the charge to take down the former Democratic Speaker of the House, Jim Black:

“In a deceitful display of raw power, Republican leaders of the NC General Assembly changed from smiling helpers of hurricane victims to greedy manipulators determined to expand their power, even as the federal courts said their legislative districts (and election) were illegitimate.

Bills introduced on December 14 use a combination sledge hammer and surgical knife to dramatically change the court system, board of elections, public education, and a host of other institutions for only one purpose – to give Elephants more turf to control in the face of a few Donkeys winning key elections.  We must fight for the good of the whole and hope that at least a few Elephants realize this is not a high school game but a shameful betrayal of their promise of public service.

Senate Bill 4 is one glaring example of the legislation aimed at rigging the system to undercut the election of Roy Cooper as Governor and Michael Morgan as Supreme Court justice.”

And this is from Karen Anderson, Executive Director of the ACLU-NC:

These shameful partisan tricks undermine the will of North Carolina voters, waste precious taxpayer dollars, and will further erode the public’s trust in our state government. As we saw earlier this year with the surprise introduction and passage of the discriminatory, anti-LGBT House Bill 2, extreme legislation that is forced through without proper vetting and debate can have disastrous consequences for North Carolina. Such significant changes to our state’s elections and judicial systems should never be planned in secret and sprung on the public without advance notice. It’s particularly disgraceful that lawmakers have exploited the victims of Hurricane Matthew for partisan gain. These latest proposals could undercut the civil liberties of all North Carolinians.”

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