Commentary, News

This week’s top stories on NC Policy Watch

1. Not final yet: Trio of state officials must still agree on ballot language for proposed constitutional amendments

When the General Assembly’s legislative session closed last week, six amendments to the state constitution had been approved for November’s ballot.

The amendments deal with a wide-ranging array of subjects: the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife; the rights of crime victims; changes to the state board of elections and the transfer of appointment powers from the governor to the legislature; selection for judicial vacancies; a cap on the state income tax and requiring a photo ID to vote.

But as hotly as the content and necessity of the amendments were debated, an important question went virtually undiscussed: how the amendments will be presented to voters. [Read more]

2. After Kennedy, after Trump, progressives rage 

Let us be enraged about injustice, but let us not be destroyed by it.” – Bayard Rustin

This Anthony Kennedy news.

Last week’s departure of America’s most important swing vote—perhaps the last foxhole against Trump’s most virulent attacks—read like a funeral dirge for liberal and moderate Americans.

It was affirmation that several decades of intractable progressive victories have never been more tentative, that liberals will pay mightily for their lead-footed, 2016 presidential campaign, that a cavalcade of disheartening decisions last week at the U.S. Supreme Court may signal the new status quo, and most importantly, that a man who’s unfit for the highest office in the country may ultimately pick the U.S. Supreme Court justice who shapes a generation on the high court. [Read more…]

3. Despite legislative wins, North Carolina pork giant loses again in court

Murphy-Brown had in its pocket 111 lawmakers who voted last week to all but end nuisance lawsuits against industrialized hog farms. But what the world’s largest pork producer didn’t have turned out to be as important: 12 jurors.

After a month of tense and combative testimony that included a gag order and surprise documents, a federal jury ruled against Murphy-Brown. Instead, it awarded $25 million in compensatory and punitive damages to Elvis and Vonnie Williams, whose property lies roughly a quarter-mile from a farm owned by former Beulahville Police Chief Joey Carter.

Because of a state cap on punitive damages, U.S. District Court Senior Judge Earl Britt will be required to reduce the total award to a maximum of $315,000 for each plaintiff. [Read more…]

4. Could slate of constitutional amendments backfire on the Right?

For more than a year and a half now, the appalling reality of the Trump presidency and the profound threat it poses to American democracy have combined to spur thousands upon thousands of North Carolinians to lend their time, talents and money to a burgeoning movement that is commonly referred to as “the resistance.” Across the state, in all 100 counties, caring and thinking people who once dismissed or avoided politics and political organizing have become activists for change.

Their common goal: to do something – anything – that will register their outrage about Trump and his policies and to help rescue their country. This imperative has only been heightened by the olitical reality in North Carolina, in which state legislative leaders have regularly done their worst to out-Trump Trump when it comes to enacting regressive public policies.  [Read more…]

5. NC judicial candidate filing is over — here’s who’s running

Candidate filing for North Carolina judicial races ended Friday, and there are 11 candidates running for statewide offices.

Three of those candidates are seeking a spot on the state Supreme Court — Republican Barbara Jackson, Democrat Anita Earls and Republican Christopher Anglin.

Jackson is the incumbent. She was first elected to the bench in 2010. Earls announced at the end of last year that she would challenge Jackson. She is a well-known civil and voting rights attorney who founded the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. Anglin officially joined the race on the last day of candidate filing. He graduated from Elon University School of Law in 2011 and currently runs a law firm in Raleigh. [Read more…]

6. And speaking of a nuisance industry… [Read more…]


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