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In a ruling that may push the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider earlier gun rights decisions, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago held yesterday that the Second Amendment right “to keep and bear arms” includes a right to carry a fully-loaded and ready-to-use gun in public.

Writing for the 2-1 majority in Moore v. Madigan, Judge Richard Posner acknowledged that the Supreme Court had not yet extended the right to carry beyond the home but said that the Illinois law in question – which strictly limited that right – was inconsistent with the history of the amendment and did not reflect the reality that people were more likely to need a gun for self-defense when in public.

The court gave the Illinois legislature 180 days to come up with a licensing scheme that would impose “reasonable limitations” on publicly carrying a gun consistent with the Second Amendment.

The Seventh Circuit’s decision may conflict with a Second Circuit decision just weeks earlier which recognized a strictly-limited public right to carry. In Kachalsky v. County of Westchester, the court upheld New York’s requirement that anyone seeking a license without restrictions – a full carry permit – must show “a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession.” Read More

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In addition to reading Sharon McCloskey’s excellent summary, you can read all 42 pages of the Motion for Recusal of Justice Paul Newby in the legislative redistricting case by clicking here.  

It’s a pretty remarkable and damning story when all the dots get connected.

There are also 42 exhibits in a huge file that we’ll try to make available as soon as possible.

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An op-ed by John Levi, chair of the Board of Directors of the national Legal Services Corporation, is highlighted in today’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer.  In it, Levi makes plain just how dire the situation has become for the nation’s legal aid community as it struggles to cope with the combination of funding cuts and the crushing demand that has resulted from the country’s rising poverty.

As he notes: Read More

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Here is the kind of thing that was being referenced when we reported recently that the North Carolina General Assembly was starting to resemble the U.S. Congress.

According to this report, opponents of President Obama are so set on blocking consideration of any judicial appointees during the fourth year of his term that they’re even filibustering a judge with overwhelming conservative support!   

As you might recall, leaders of the General Assembly have stymied several of the Governor’s appointments to the state Board of Education (and other important state panels) in a similar and wholly political fashion.

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If you want to get a glimpse of just how crazy and extreme things are getting at the General Assembly during the session’s hectic waning days, check out the debate surrounding this bill from the bail bonds industry that has been sliding through under the radar. It is premised on the truly cockamamie notion that publicly-supported pretrial release programs somehow constitute “unfair competition” for bail bondsmen. We are not making this up.

Over the weekend, the Wilmington Star News had a solid editorial on the topic that ought to be a “must read” for anyone following the subject.

North Carolina taxpayers don’t owe bail bondsmen a living, but a bill that’s making its way through the General Assembly would fatten their wallets at the expense of a pretrial release program that is well regarded by judges and court officials. The Honorables should lock up this legislation in a safe place and throw away the key. Read More