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Plaintiffs in the Virginia marriage equality case have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to deny the request for a stay of the 4th Circuit decision rejecting that state’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional.

As reported previously, attorneys for the Virginia county clerk who has been defending the state’s same-sex marriage ban had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay implementation of the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Bostic v. Schaefer

Without that stay, same-sex marriages can begin in Virginia on Thursday.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., who handles Fourth Circuit emergency filings, is expected to rule on the request, either on his own or after consulting his colleagues.

The clerk’s request was prompted by the Fourth Circuit’s refusal this past Wednesday to enter a stay of its own decision.

Read the plaintiffs’  full request to deny the stay here.

Martin_appointmentAs expected, Gov. Pat McCrory today announced that he will appoint sitting Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin to serve as Chief Justice effective September 1, 2014, replacing the retiring chief, Sarah Parker.

Martin is the court’s Senior Associate Justice, elected to a seat there in 1998 at the age of 35. He previously served on the Court of Appeals and the Superior Court.

Although he will begin service in September, Martin must still run for that slot in November, facing off against Brunswick County Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis.

Here is an excerpt from the governor’s press release:

Justice Martin has served as the Senior Associate Justice since 2006, and our Court is better for it. The humility and integrity of his character has benefited our state, and his knowledge and depth of experience is inimitable. I look forward to his work as Chief Justice as he draws upon his more than 20 years of judicial experience.

Just in from the watchdogs at Democracy NC (click here to read the entire report):

State Legislators Pile Up $8 Million for Campaigns;
Incumbent Advantage Will Grow with PACs’ “Gratitude Money”

A review of financial reports by the watchdog group Democracy North Carolina shows that state legislators running for reelection have stockpiled more than $8 million in cash for the final months of the 2014 campaign.

Legislators of both parties can also expect a windfall in special-interest donations when the General Assembly adjourns, likely this week, said Bob Hall, director of the nonpartisan group.

The 101 Republican legislators seeking election to the NC House or Senate hold $6.8 million in cash, more than four times as much as the $1.5 million held by the 52 Democrats. (The other 17 legislators are retiring or running for another office, or they were defeated in the primary.)

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) led all lawmakers with $1,015,460 in cash as of June 30, the deadline for the most recent financial report. The next report is not due until late October. Senate Republican Majority Leader Harry Brown (R-Onslow) is next with $444,267, followed by Democratic Senator Josh Stein (D-Wake) with $347,413.

Because Speaker Thom Tillis is running for the U.S. Senate, the Republicans in the House who have the most cash are Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) with $251,573 and Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake) with $246,216. Both men have Democratic opponents in the general election, but neither challenger had more $9,000 as of June 30.

“The combination of big-money fundraising and highly partisan redistricting means we’re seeing less competition in general elections,” said Hall “It’s hard to hold legislators accountable when they don’t have competition.”

Of the 153 legislators seeking reelection, 74 – or nearly half of them – face no opposition from the other major party. Read More

North Carolina had 20,000 fewer people working in July than the previous month, as the state’s unemployment ticked up slightly to 6.5 percent.

The July jobs report that came out Monday morning (click here to read) puts the state’s unemployment rate at 6.5 percent, much lower than the 8.1 percent unemployment the state experienced a year ago, in July 2013.

The national unemployment rate is 6.2 percent.

July’s unemployment rate in North Carolina was an uptick from recent months, when the unemployment rate dipped as low as 6.2 percent in April.

North Carolina has seen its labor pool shrink steadily as it has emerged from the recession, and there were 19,848 fewer people receiving paychecks in July than there were in June.

Read More

1. Lawmakers inch toward adjournment - This afternoon at 4:30 p.m. the House Rules committee will take up House Bill 1224, legislation that ties together a sales tax and economic development measure to a budget fix that would fund teaching assistant positions for the 2014-15 school year. Incentives and the TA budget fix are the remaining issues to be resolved before the House adjourns. Adjournment resolutions will be considered again this evening when the House meets at 5:00pm.info1

2. Wake County hits one million residents – Wake County’s population is expected to reach one million residents this week. Wake County commissioners will discuss the milestone and population growth at their Monday meeting. The county has put together a great infographic to mark the occassion.

3. Public hearings begin on draft fracking rules – Environmental regulators will hold a series of four hearings over the next few weeks to collect public input on proposed rules for regulating oil and gas development in North Carolina.

This week, the state Mining and Energy Commission’s hearings are scheduled for:
• 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20 at the McKimmon Center,1101 Gorman St., Raleigh
• 5-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22 at the Wicker Center,1801 Nash St., Sanford

Written comments may also be submitted electronically through September 30th on the state Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources’ website.

4. The state of the U.S. Supreme Court - Few recent rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court have done more to anger caring and thinking Americans and awaken them to the importance of monitoring the federal courts and the judges who serve on them than the now infamous Hobby Lobby v. Burwell decision of this past June.

Ian Millhiser, Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst for the Center for American Progress, will be in Raleigh this Thursday to discuss  Hobby Lobby and other momentous decisions by the High Court over the past year. Want to learn more? Click here to register for Thursday’s Crucial Conversation with Millhiser.

5. Back to school education webinar – If you are still a bit confused about how this legislative session has impacted education, you’ll want to carve out time for Thursday night’s education webinar.

Join Public Schools First NC and guests Mark Jewell, Vice President of the NC Association of Educators and Chris Hill, Director of the NC Justice Center Education and Law Project for an online discussion about the effects of recent legislation on North Carolina’s public schools. The webinar will cover:
•    Public school funding
•    Teacher pay .
•    Charter schools
•    Common Core and more
The Public Schools First NC’s webinar will be Thursday, August 21, 7:00 p.m – 8:00p.m. Register for the event here.

6. Moral Week of Action begins Friday – The NC NAACP and the Forward Together movement will stage seven consecutive days of action and a “Jericho March” at the North Carolina State Capitol to highlight and challenge what they say are destructive laws coming out of Raleigh.

Every day for one week, they will gather and demand that Gov. Pat McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Leader Phil Berger repent and repeal their public policy attacks on North Carolinians’ civil and human rights.

Each day they will emphasize several urgent issues and on the final day, Thursday, August 28, the 51st Anniversary of the March on Washington, they will hold a mass rally on Bicentennial Mall for voting rights and voter mobilization – the Vote Your Dreams, Not Your Fears Rally – at 5:30 pm. Events this week include:
•    Friday, Aug. 22 – Labor Rights, Fair and Living Wages, and Economic Justice
•    Saturday, Aug. 23 – Education and Criminal Justice
•    Sunday, Aug. 24 – Equal Protection under the Law: Call for Respect in the Law and in the Community regardless of race, creed, class, gender, sexual orientation and immigration status