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Tipping the scales: NC's Judiciary shaped by out-of-state money

The final frontier of unchecked power:

But the mandatory retirement of Sarah Parker, the chief justice from 2006 until the end of August, opened up a spot on the bench. Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Associate Justice Mark Martin, a Republican, to fill the vacancy until the Nov. 4 elections. Robert N. Hunter Jr., a Republican who was on the N.C. Court of Appeals, was then named to serve in Martin’s seat until the election.

That shifted the balance in September to five Republicans and two Democrats. There have been few cases decided since then that reflect what that shift might mean for politically charged lawsuits.

There may have been only time for a "few" cases, but they've been instructive enough. The Supreme Court is gearing up to become much more involved in cases with a partisan nature, pre-empting the lower Court of Appeals when it will be advantageous to do so. That "pro-active" approach to the law does not bode well for those seeking Constitutional clarification or redress, nor does having justices owe allegiance to DC political heavyweights:

Daily dose: Rick Perry's gunboat floats into town, sinks

Rick Perry at NC BBQ to help Senate hopeful Tillis (AP) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry urged North Carolina Republicans Friday to work to elect Thom Tillis' to the U.S. Senate, saying his arrival will usher in a GOP majority in the chamber that can force the hand of President Barack Obama to fortify American foreign policy. Worried over the rise of the Islamic State and the Ebola virus and angry about the government's response to both, Republicans at what's billed as "North Carolina's Largest Political Rally" cheered as Perry, Gov. Pat McCrory and others pressed for a Tillis victory over Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. "We need a United States Senate that will stand up to and clearly send a powerful message to the White House that we are going to put policies into place (so) that our enemies will fear us and our allies will trust us," Perry said to many of the 5,000 people who attended the traditional election-season event.
http://www.wral.com/perry-mccrory-tillis-headline-nc-republican-bbq/14110311/

Anti-LGBT bigots attack John Arrowood

The religious tyrants will stop at nothing in their hate-fueled crusade

The leader of a Fayetteville church used a disparaging term to refer to a gay state Court of Appeals candidate, John Arrowood, saying he shouldn’t be running. “I say he should step down because he’s already biased” against the marriage amendment, said Johnny Hunter of Cliffdale Community Church. Arrowood, a Charlotte lawyer, was once on the board of the Equality NC political action committee. He served on the appeals court in 2007-8.

“I think it’s unfortunate that people have chosen to make my sexuality an issue,” Arrowood said in an interview Thursday. “I have a record of showing that I am fair and unbiased and that I have no agenda. I have a record that people can see. I think it’s unfortunate in the 21st century that people seem to think my sexual orientation is an issue.”

As far as I'm concerned, the race for this CoA seat just went from "pick your favorite" to "support John Arrowood at all costs." Those of you Dems who were considering someone else, whether because you like something about that someone else or because you're inclined to do the exact opposite of what the NCDP wants you to do (I know you're out there), it's time to take a stand against bigotry. I promise, you will be glad you did, however the election turns out.

Daily dose: NC Early Voting stats and spats edition

N.C. Fights To Take Voting Site Away From Pesky College Kids (Huffington Post) -- Early voting starts today, Thursday in North Carolina, even as the state has pushed to move early voting sites farther away from college campuses. The Republican-dominated North Carolina State Board of Elections, among other efforts, has sought to remove an early voting location from the campus of Appalachian State University, which has about 18,000 students, many of whom lean Democratic. Last week, the board filed a petition asking the state Supreme Court to stay a judge’s ruling in favor of the site. On Wednesday afternoon, not having heard from the high court and with the start of early voting looming, the elections board hastily voted to keep the site on campus. Soon after, the state Supreme Court announced that it was staying the judge’s ruling and sending the case back to the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
http://billmoyers.com/2014/10/23/north-carolina-fights-take-voting-site-away-pesky-college-kids/

EARLY VOTING DAY 1: Early vote in person day 1 (Thurs. 10/23): Total votes cast: 117,758: D 50.9%; R 29.4%; U 19.6%; L 0.1%

When athletics trumps academics

The investigation into UNC's "paper classes" is in, and it isn't something to be proud of:

A "woeful lack of oversight" and a culture that confused academic freedom with a lack of accountability helped more than 3,100 students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill -- many of them athletes -- enroll and pass classes they never attended and which were not taught by a single faculty member.

At least nine employees have been fired or disciplined so far, though Carol Folt, UNC's chancellor, said the university will not name the employees. "I know the Carolina community will find these findings sobering," Folt said during a press conference Wednesday. "This never should have been allowed to happen."

Speaking of sobering, it wasn't just ill-prepared athletes who took part in this scheme, the Frat Boys soon discovered they could party until the sun came up and still show mommy and daddy an impressive grade point average:

Daily dose: And they're off! Early voting begins today

'People are fired up' to vote, William Barber says (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Voters angry over the policies of the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory are anxious to vote despite laws that will make it harder for some to cast ballots, state NAACP head the Rev. William Barber II said during a visit here Wednesday. Barber, also the leader of the Moral Monday movement that has staged protests in Raleigh against state government's rightward shift spoke at a press event on Patton Avenue downtown to encourage area residents to vote, a day before early voting begins. The appearance was part of a statewide tour, and Barber also visited Boone and Burnsville Wednesday. "People are fired up and ready to go. People are organized. They're phone banking. They're robocalling," he said. "They understand that elections have consequences and you can never go AWOL when it comes to a democracy.
http://www.citizen-times.com/story/elections/2014/10/22/barber-naacp-moral-monday/17747211/

NC Supreme Court steps in on ASU voting site

Making a bad joke out of the whole "non-partisan judiciary" designation:

The North Carolina Supreme Court said Wednesday afternoon the courts should take up the issue of early voting on the campus of Appalachian State, literally moments after the State Board of Elections had voted to restore the on-campus early voting site.

However, the early voting site will remain open as the state elections board voted, unless the board meets again to cancel the site.

The Supreme Court order came down just before 5 p.m., less than an hour after the state board voted unanimously to OK the site in a hastily called emergency meeting.

What does this mean? That's a good question. But considering how adamant and steadfast the state BoE has been about helping the Eggers stifle student voting in Watauga County, they're probably hastily calling another emergency meeting this very minute.

Empty suit debates empty chair

And the chair wins a decisive victory:

The program initially billed as a debate between Tillis and other candidates turned into a one-hour conversation with him and two reporters, as well as responses to emailed or recorded questions from the public. Hagan announced over the summer her decision not to participate, while Libertarian Sean Haugh didn't meet a 15 percent polling threshold to join Tillis.

"I'm disappointed that Sen. Hagan's not here," Tillis said in a closing statement in which he repeated themes from their previous three televised debates with Hagan in which he linked her closely to President Barack Obama's policies.

And I'm disappointed that both Time Warner and McClatchy felt it was appropriate to continue with such a farce. The candidates agreed to a certain number of debates earlier in the year, and both media outlets were warned well in advance that Hagan wouldn't be attending. To give Tillis airtime to spew his talking points without a serious challenge to their merit should require an "in-kind" contribution disclosure form for the Tillis campaign from both TWC and McClatchy.

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