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Federal Government
NC Democratic Party And Common Cause Sue In Federal Court over NC Gerrymandering PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 05 August 2016 14:04
RALEIGH – Common Cause and the North Carolina Democratic Party launched a potentially landmark lawsuit in federal court today directly challenging the foundation of partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina.
 
Filed in the Middle District Court in Greensboro, the challenge in Common Cause v. Rucho could be a watershed moment in the fight against gerrymandering. While judges have weighed in on racial gerrymandering and set constraints for such factors as equal population in drawing voting maps, the courts have largely avoided determining if partisan gerrymandering is legal. The lawsuit filed by Common Cause seeks to resolve that lingering question, arguing that manipulation of voting maps for partisan gain is unconstitutional.
 
Common Cause North Carolina has been a longtime opponent of all forms of gerrymandering, working with a broad bipartisan coalition to champion impartial redistricting for more than a decade. 
 
The move to challenge partisan gerrymandering in the courts comes just months after North Carolina lawmakers were required to redraw congressional districts found by a panel of federal judges to be unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. Legislative leaders replaced that racially gerrymandered congressional map with what they openly boasted were partisan gerrymanders, crafted with the sole aim of unfairly maximizing their party's advantage.
 
"Perhaps for the first time ever in North Carolina, state legislators have freely and publicly admitted that they gerrymandered for rank partisan advantage," said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC. "That open admission was done because the courts have placed limits on racial gerrymandering, but have left unanswered the question of whether partisan gerrymandering is allowable. We believe our case can finally make clear that gerrymandering of any kind violates the constitutional rights of North Carolina voters."
 
Phillips added, "What is at stake is whether politicians have the power to manipulate voting maps to unjustly insulate themselves from accountability, or whether voters have the fundamental right as Americans to choose their representatives in fair and open elections. We believe this is a vital case that could strike at the very foundation of gerrymandering."
 
The challenge in Common Cause v. Rucho argues that the legislature's blatant partisan gerrymander is a clear violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The full lawsuit filing can be read online at cmnca.us/vRucho
 
The North Carolina gerrymandering suit comes as Common Cause has filed a separate court challenge to gerrymandered voting maps drawn by Maryland Democrats
 
North Carolina has long felt the negative impact of partisan gerrymandering. Since 1992, nearly half of all legislative races have had just one candidate on the ballot, leaving millions of voters with no choice at the ballot box. Similarly, the state's congressional maps have been gerrymandered by the legislature in such a way as to minimize competition, undermining the right of voters to have a voice in who represents them.
Last Updated on Friday, 05 August 2016 14:30
 
Federal Appeals Court Overturns NC Voter ID Law PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 29 July 2016 12:30
 
The US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned the 2013 elections law case that included the voter ID provision.
 
The ruling prohibits North Carolina from requiring photo identification from voters in the November 2016 general election, restores a week of early voting and preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds as well as re-instates same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting. 
 
The three-judge panel found that the law was adopted with “discriminatory intent.” The case was sent back to U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, who dismissed all claims in the challenge to the state’s sweeping 2013 election law overhaul.
 
 
Last Updated on Friday, 29 July 2016 12:49
 
HB2 Trial Will Start In November PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 27 July 2016 12:40
The Raleigh News and Observer reports U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder scheduled the trial start for Nov. 14 in the HB2 challenge brought by six North Carolinians shortly after the law was adopted.
 
Five lawsuits have been filed in federal court over HB2, the law that requires transgender people to use publicly owned restrooms and locker rooms in accordance with the gender on their birth certificates instead of the gender with which they identify.
 
, Schroeder will hear arguments on whether to put the law on hold while the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal and Jenner & Block law firm filed on behalf of three transgender residents, a lesbian N.C. Central University law professor and lesbian couple in Mecklenburg County.
 
During the full trial, the court will also consider challenges to sections of HB2 that prohibit local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 12:41
 
Federal Judge Will Hear HB2 Challenge In August PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 14 July 2016 15:41
U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder will hear arguments on Aug. 1 on whether to block provisions of House Bill 2.
 
The hearing is set for 10 a.m. in Winston-Salem in one of four cases challenging HB2.
 
The law requires transgender people to use restrooms on government property that correspond with the gender on their birth certificates. 
 The law also blocks local governments from passing nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people that are more sweeping than state law.
 
Three transgender residents of North Carolina, a lesbian law professor at N.C. Central University and a lesbian couple in Charlotte filed a lawsuit quickly after the law was adopted, claiming it violates the federal gender equity law. They have legal representation from the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal and Jenner and Block law firm.
 
Advocates of HB2 have described the law as one that promotes privacy and security.
 
The U.S. Justice Department sued North Carolina over the law, describing it as a violation of equal employment and gender equity laws. Earlier this month, attorneys representing the government made a similar request to Schroeder, asking him to block HB2 while the case pends.
 
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