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#1 comes from the Charlotte Observer which, in response to the recent decision upholding GOP-drawn legislative districts, makes another strong case for passing nonpartisan redistricting legislation now:

“Legal doesn’t necessarily mean fair, however, and our opinion on redistricting remains the same. The process in North Carolina is flawed and time consuming. It allows the party in power to protect incumbents by drawing districts in a way that dilutes the opposition’s strength. It takes choices away from voters. Read More

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Per their order entered on May 13, the three-judge panel handling the redistricting case will hold hearings today and tomorrow to consider specific factual issues before deciding the parties’ respective requests for judgment.

The judges have asked for testimony and additional evidence in two separate areas:

First, were challenged districts subject to the Voting Rights Act drawn in places where racially-polarized voting existed — i.e., where black voters in the minority of voters were unable to elect candidates of  their choice — and was the drawing of such districts a reasonable response under the Act?

And second, in certain districts not subject to the Act (Senate 31 and 32, House 51 and 54, Congressional 4 and 12), where a majority black voting population was not achieved during redistricting, is there additional evidence that race nonetheless was the predominant factor in drawing those districts?

The court has held in abeyance any ruling on these and other issues raised by the parties in their requests for judgment pending completion of these hearings.

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President Obama 4No, the above headline is not a typo or even a logical stretch. There is actually a close relationship between the two subjects. Here’s why:

Although all the facts have yet to come to light, the recent scandal in Washington related to the wrongful targeting of conservative groups by Internal Revenue Service officials appears to be just that: a scandal. Every American should be outraged anytime the people in power abuse the system to target any group or individual because of their beliefs. It is an offensive assault on core constitutional rights anytime such an event occurs. President Obama needs to get to the bottom of this ASAP and punish all who are responsible.

Unfortunately, such occurrences are not new in the United States. They occurred when the George W. Bush administration wrongfully targeted liberal groups (click here and here to read about some examples) AND they occur every time politicians in power draw absurdly gerrymandered political maps to punish their opponents and deny voters the opportunity to participate in real elections. Read More

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Neal HuntAs reported previously here and here, one of the 2013 legislative session’s leading contenders for “Most Shameless Power-Grab Legislation” has to be the proposal by conservative Wake County senators to rig the districts and election schedule for the Wake County School Board.

As we noted last month:  “[the] new bill from Senator Neal Hunt (pictured at left) would change the rules of how school board members are elected in the capital county in a way that is clearly designed to alter the board’s power structure and move things in a conservative direction.” The bill would, in addition to redrawing district lines, extend the terms of conservative members John Tedesco and Deborah Prickett from four years to five.

Now, there’s news this morning that Hunt is still serious about advancing this offensive legislation; the measure has been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Redistricting Committee tomorrow (Wednesday) at noon in Room 544 of the Legislative Office Building.  

 

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Arguing that it essential for the protection of the justice system as a whole and the principle of equal justice under the law, a group of nonpartisan North Carolina civil rights groups filed papers with the Supreme Court today calling on Justice Paul Newby to recuse himself in the legislative redistricting case currently before the court.

According to Rev. William Barber of the North Carolina NAACP:

“If justice and fairness are to prevail, the integrity of the court’s justices and the proceedings cannot be influenced by money or have even the appearance of being sold to the highest bidder. Whenever this possibility arises, we must call on the court to examine itself and if necessary recuse any justice or judge whose ability to rule fairly has been tempted or tampered with.”

Barber, Bob Hall of Democracy North Carolina and Melvin Montford of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (pictured at left) spoke outside the Supreme Court after the papers were filed.

For more details on the request of the advocacy groups and their arguments, check out Sharon McCloskey’s article by clicking here.  You can read Barber’s entire statement by clicking here.