October 20, 2017/Press

NCDP FRIDAY TAKEAWAYS – October 20, 2017

REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS FORGE AHEAD WITH PLAN TO RIG NC’S COURTS. Republican legislators escalated their all-out assault on North Carolina’s independent judiciary. First, they overrode Governor Cooper’s veto and eliminated judicial primaries for the 2018 elections – a transparent first-step for a constitutional amendment that will switch our system from judicial elections to merit selections. Merely hours later, Republican legislators put forth a constitutional amendment that will limit judges to two-year terms, effectively putting every judge in North Carolina on the ballot in 2018. This attempt to manipulate and rig the court system was so blatant it landed our state on the front page of national papers.


Winston-Salem Chronicle:


GOP HEALTH CARE SABOTAGE SENDS NC RATES UP. Washington Republicans ended cost-sharing reduction payments in an effort to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. Blue Cross NC announced Wednesday that they will have to increase their rates thanks to their sabotage, affecting the over 500,000 people who are insured by Blue Cross through ACA plans. According to Blue Cross NC, “Had CSR payments not been eliminated, Blue Cross NC’s final rate request for ACA customers’ average would have been near zero.” Worse, the percent of people without health insurance rose for the first time since the ACA took effect.




FARR-RIGHT JUDGE MOVES FORWARD. The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the nomination of Thomas Farr to the U.S. District Court for Eastern North Carolina, despite his history hostile to worker, civil, and minority rights. Farr has actively participated in the hostile takeover of North Carolina, happily defending Republicans’ most indefensible proposals including North Carolina’s suppressive voter laws and unconstitutionally, racially gerrymandered maps. According to the Congressional Black Caucus, the White House would have had a very difficult time finding an attorney “with a more hostile record on African-American voting rights and workers’ rights than Thomas Farr.” Our Senators, including Sen. Burr and Sen. Tillis, should vote against this nomination.
Charlotte Observer:

GOVERNOR COOPER ANNOUNCES HISTORIC PROTECTIONS FOR LGBTQ INDIVIDUALS. Governor Cooper’s order prohibits discrimination in his administration on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and his consent decree allows transgender people to use the public restrooms that correspond to their gender identity. The executive order and the consent decree are important steps toward increasing protections across the state of North Carolina because all North Carolinians deserve to feel safe and loved in the state they call home.

News & ObserverNew York Times


UPDATES ON THE FIGHT FOR FAIR MAPS. Two courts cases with the potential to bring fairer maps back to North Carolina advanced this week, one discussing partisan gerrymandering in NC’s Congressional maps and the other racial gerrymandering at the legislative level.

  • Covington v. North Carolina: Both parties couldn’t agree to a list of names for a special master – an independent expert tasked with redrawing the maps (or parts of them) – giving back to the court the decision with how to proceed. (Relatedly, how does one become a special master? Is there a specific degree for that?)
  • Common Cause v. Rucho: After a four-day trial, a three judge panel is set to decide whether the hyper-partisan district drawing of North Carolina Republicans is illegal. Arguments focused on how the extreme, strategic maps use advanced data to ensure Republican wins and disenfranchise voters in the process. Post-trial briefs are due in early November.


Fayetteville Observer
“The leadership of the General Assembly has decided that Job No. 1 is slapping the governor down at every opportunity, even when he wants to do something that will protect the health and safety of North Carolina’s residents — Democrat, Republican, Libertarian and independent alike.”WRAL
“In the many missteps this legislature has taken in politicizing the courts, this one goes into the deepest sinkhole yet. It is a dangerous plan that will give justice to the highest bidder. It is a notion that will lead to corruption at every level of the judicial system.” News & Observer
“The delays have dragged on for months, and the reason is simple: Cooper is a Democrat, and since before he took office, Republicans have tried to strip that office of power and money any way they could in trying to curb Cooper’s appointive power and budget.” Asheville Citizen Times
F to General Assembly leaders who are refusing to consider 10 of Gov. Roy Cooper’s nominations to three boards, including full-time positions on the Utilities Commission … This is yet one more example of a GOP-dominated legislature’s attempts to cripple a Democratic governor by obstructionist tactics that rise to the level of malfeasance and possibly unconstitutionality.” WRAL
“It is past time for the secret, hyper-partisan machinations from Berger’s junta to end. With these delays, ambushes and subterfuge, Berger, Moore and those who follow their dictates have produced a perfect storm of incompetence, disrespect and petty spite.”


**Some non-political reads for your weekend as you recover from the final days of the NC State Fair**

  • The Atlantic: A Catfishing with a Happy Ending, Emma Perrier was deceived by an older man on the internet—a hoax that turned into an unbelievable love story
  • Eater: As Goes the Middle Class, So Goes TGI Fridays, What one typical American town reveals about the fate of the great suburban chain restaurant