NC's lawyers have had enough of GOP meddling with democracy

Released this week by a long list of members of North Carolina's bar, including former justices of supreme court is a letter condemning in no uncertain terms two of the amendments to the state constitution that Republicans want to see on this fall's ballot. It's worth your time, especially the part that reads:

In the last two years, the North Carolina Supreme Court has ruled three times that the General Assembly violated the separation of powers principles of our Constitution by prohibiting the Governor from exercising his inherent power of appointment.

Having failed to achieve that objective under the current Constitution, the General Assembly now seeks to overturn those precedents by changing the Constitution because it stands in their way.

Although letter only deals with two of the amendments, but there are strong arguments against all six that could appear on the November ballot. What follows is the complete letter. You can download a PDF here.

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Maybe nothing's the matter with Kansas ... or WNC

"What's the matter with Kansas?" asked Thomas Frank 14 years ago in a book of that title. His painted Kansans as posters children for what's wrong with American politics, specifically that Republicans had convinced people to vote against their own interest by rallying them around hot-button cultural issues like abortion. Since then Frank's demographic analysis has been roundly criticized as statistically naive, but much of his argument is valid.

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Dem identity crisis? Not so much

It's much easier to be a Republican than a Democrat these days. The Republican Party under Donald J. Trump stands for basically one thing: keeping American white. Everything else is irrelevant: deficits, national security, clean air, you name it. No need to try to meld conflicting or disparate visions. Just keep The Other at bay and don't worry about any other details. Democrats, on the other hand, need to worry about how to prioritize income and wealth inequality, the environment, health care premiums, systemic racism and sexism, and a whole host of other societal ills. We're a big tent, and sometimes that means a little internal conflict.

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NC constitutional amendments

PROTECT OUR CONSTITUTION, VOTE “AGAINST” ALL CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

The legislature is running roughshod over our constitution, pushing through new measures to restrict voting, undermine our separation of powers, and nickel and dime consumers. These are unprecedented, unnecessary, politically-driven, and hurt our state. Many are nothing more than a “blank-check” to allow partisan politicians to do as they please.

North Carolina Must Stand Against These Attacks on Our Constitution and Vote “Against.”

  1. Undermine Separation of Powers (“Clarify Board Appointments”) This amendment would fundamentally alter the balance of power in state government, giving the legislature exclusive control over how you can vote, the cost of your energy bill, and the quality of your drinking water. This dangerous measure would essentially rewrite the constitution to exclude all North Carolinians but a few politicians from making decisions about what is in the best interest of the state.
  2. Give Legislature Power over the Courts (“Judicial Vacancy”) Another amendment to undermine our separation of powers, this bill gives a handful of partisan politicians the power to cherry-pick judges. This political power grab undermines the independence of our courts, and will make our judiciary another partisan, political body.
  3. Make it Harder to Vote (“Voter ID”) This amendment is designed to make it harder to vote, creating new hurdles to the ballot box that will hurt seniors, veterans, young people, and people of color by giving legislators a “blank check” to create new restrictions on your right to vote. Past attempts have been found illegal after lawmakers targeted African-Americans “with almost surgical precision.”
  4. Nickel-and-Dime the Middle Class (“Cap Income Taxes at 7%”) North Carolina has some of the lowest income taxes in the southeast, while property taxes, sales taxes, local taxes, and fees have all grown. This amendment continues to nickel-and-dime consumers to protect the wealthy while starving resources for public schools and hand tying the state from responding to future economic downturns.
  5. Unintended Consequences for Crime Victims (“Marsy’s Law”) North Carolina already has robust victims’ rights laws – changing the state constitution is unnecessary. This measure also has unintended consequences on victims’ ability to have their day in court, as only wealthy people with private attorneys could intervene in criminal prosecutions which could delay justice for everyone.
  6. Playing Politics with Hunting Laws (“Protect the Right to Hunt and Fish”) No rights are being threatened, but Republicans hope this amendment will lure voters to the polls. We shouldn’t change our state constitution based on politics, and we shouldn’t reward partisan politicians for putting this on the ballot.

PROTECT OUR CONSTITUTION, VOTE “AGAINST” CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

Any attempt to change our Constitution should be deliberate and bipartisan. The public has only voted on seven amendments in the last twenty years. Now, we’re forced to vote on nearly as many in one election.

It’s not enough to stand against a few of the amendments when the effort behind each of them is partisan politics. North Carolina must send a loud message by voting “against” each of the proposed constitutional amendments.    IN NOVEMBER, VOTE AGAINST ALL

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Civility crisis?

"Whether or not you think public shaming should be happening, it’s important to understand why it’s happening. It’s less a result of a breakdown in civility than a breakdown of democracy."

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If you like voting "no," then this November's election is for you

North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature has a pretty low opinion of the intelligence of the state’s electorate. GOP representatives and senators seem to think they can pull the wool over voters’ eyes this fall by letting them vote on a set of amendments to the state constitution that are being sold as an opportunity to make government more democratic.

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What then must we do?

The human-rights crisis taking place on the US-Mexico border has prompted many an American (and even a fair number of my Canadian friends) to ask “What can I do?” The answers offered by those who treat such questions as more than rhetorical run the usual gamut from “donate” to “call your senator and congressperson.” Such responses are useful, but only to a limited extent.

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NCDP endorses judicial candidates

                                                       On Tuesday June 12, the NCDP made the unusual move of endorsing candidates after the Republican controlled General Assembly injected partisanship into the judiciary and cancelled primaries statewide.  Now, Republicans are trying to split the democratic vote so that we'll lose.  Let's work to make sure that doesn't happen.  These are the judicial candidates you will want to vote for in November. 

 

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Polk County Teen Dems Sponsor a Meet the Candidates Bash

Polk County Teen Dems are holding a Meet the Democratic Candidates bash at party Headquarters Friday May 18  from 5 to 7 pm.  Come meet all your candidates, get involved and enjoy a pizza dinner. 

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Primary Election Winners

BJ Bayne won her primary to be the Democratic candidate for Polk County Sheriff and David Wheeler won his primary to be the Democratic candidate for the NC Senate.  Congratulations to both who worked hard for their victories. Thanks to all who turned out to vote.  Polk County had a 19.13% turnout rate.  Not great, but better than most mid-term elections.  Let's keep this trend going for the General Election so we can get ALL our candidates elected.

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