Civitas Institute

NC GOP tries to become immune from judicial checks and balances

The NC GOP, stung by a series of judicial rulings that their unconstitutional laws, isn't about to put up with that.

When judges get in their way of passing unconstitutional laws, Tillisberger just passes a new unconstitutional law.

After passing laws imposing new conditions on abortions and elections, taking away teacher tenure and providing vouchers for private school tuition, Republican state legislators have seen those policies stymied in state and federal courtrooms.

So they have passed another law, this one making those kinds of lawsuits less likely to succeed when filed in state court. Beginning in September, all constitutional challenges to laws will be heard by three-judge trial court panels appointed by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

Civitas ramps up its attack on teachers' association

And they're spending some serious money doing it:

Eight billboards recently posted along key highways across the state display a loaded question to teachers in bold white letters: "Want a $450 raise?" The message is part of a new public campaign launched this week by conservative think tank, NC Civitas Institute, urging teachers to quit the North Carolina Association of Educators.

"They're not really an advocate for education. They're an advocate for people who pay dues to them," said Francis De Luca, NC Civitas President.

No shit, Sherlock. You just made the best argument for teachers continuing their membership: the NCAE's main concern is for the teachers, not for "better results in the classroom" or for pleasing the increasingly impossible-to-please parents. And the NCAE's success in motivating members to engage in Moral Monday protests is the main reason they're getting raises. If left up to people like you, teachers would have to survive a knife fight just to secure a 1 year contract making $9.00 per hour.

Fran Deluca gets 15 minutes of fame - and blows it

Fran got called by the New York Times to talk about Voter Suppression in North Carolina. Rather than addressing the substance of the matter, she did what Fran always does, revert to ideological mumbo-jumbo. In this case, the message is clear: we can discriminate just fine on our own and need not have federal oversight.

Francis X. De Luca, president of the Civitas Institute, a conservative North Carolina think tank, said it was about time that the federal government returned decision making to the local level. “This is something that local people can work out,” Mr. De Luca said.

Speaking truth to power

can still result in attempts to muzzle the speaker.

Gene Nichol is now required to warn UNC and add a disclaimer any time he writes something for publication.

Printed under the column were [Nichol's] name, his title as the Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor and this statement: “He doesn’t speak for UNC.”

Since late October, the disclaimer has appeared whenever Nichol, a provocative and prolific writer, pens a piece for the newspaper’s opinion pages.

According to email records obtained by the N&O, Nichol, a former dean and college president and well-known liberal, has also been asked by his bosses to give them a day or two days’ notice – a “heads up” before his columns appear

That's because Nichol speaks truth that the powerful don't want to hear. And some of the powerful react with indignation.

What's the role of Civitas in the Forsyth BOE decision on early voting sites?

The Winston-Salem Chronicle has the story on a recent meeting of the Forsyth Board of Elections where the Board approved a list of early voting sites that puts the majority of early voting polling places in white suburban parts of the county and only one in the city of Winston-Salem where the majority of voters reside.

Several residents also asked the board to extend the evening hours to allow for voting after normal business hours or expand the voting schedule on Saturday May 3, the only weekend voting option during the primary early voting schedule.

“It is my understanding that there’s only one Saturday voting time, and I would really appreciate it if the board would consider enlarging that,” said Charles Wilson. “…I want us to be fair to workers in particular. They need that extra day.”

Spotlight on extremist Forsyth BOE chair Ken Raymond

If you live in Forsyth, consider putting some pressure on the powers that be to get Forsyth Board of Elections Chair Ken Raymond removed from his post.

I missed this in the flurry of news coming from Raleigh, but Q-Notes published a piece about him in January.

After the Winston-Salem Chronicle in an editorial said Raymond "would be the result if Allen West and Herman Cain could produce a lovechild," he responsed to the newspaper with a diatribe against gays and lesbians. The Camel City Dispatch chimed in on Raymond's remarks.

Nance told qnotes that The Chronicle‘s response to Raymond’s actions is reflective of the feeling in the local African-American community and the larger Forsyth County community.

State Supreme Court Justice candidate sends out fundraising letter ... signed by Art Pope

NC Policy watch has the scoop on the black hole of Art Pope money influencing North Carolina elections.

First up, State Supreme Court Justice candidate Bob Hunter sent out a letter for an exclusive and expensive fundraising event signed by Art Pope, who just happens to currently serve as McCrory's Budget Director.

If elected, will Hunter excuse himself from cases involving the administration to avoid any conflict of interest?

And DHHS Secrety Aldona Wos has a connection to a Civitas fundraiser:

Puppet propaganda in the op-ed pages

Laying down covering fire during an election year:

If I wanted to keep poor people poor, there are several government policies I would favor.

For starters, I would advocate for a robust and ever-expanding welfare state. Programs like Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance, etc.? Perfect poverty traps.

I would recognize that a perfect recipe for keeping poor people poor is to create incentives that push them into decisions that prevent them from climbing out of poverty.

We can expect to see more of this tripe as the year unfolds. What Brian is trying (and so far failing) to do is deflect attention away from the realities of the recession, and put forward the idea that people are struggling because of their own choices. All they have to do is "want" to work and a good job will magically materialize for them. The truth is much more complex and disturbing:

Civitas criticizes scholar; scholars criticize Pope and Civitas

The McCrory administration is facing criticism from college faculty tonight because of a records request from the conservative Civitas Institute.

Faculty from private and public universities delivered a letter today to the governor and his budget director, Art Pope, asking the two men to condemn Civitas' request for emails and other records from UNC School of Law professor Gene Nichol.

--from's Mark Binker

from PPP Polling:

Faux-Libertarian uses the old "what are you afraid of?" excuse to justify invasion of privacy

The arrogance and hypocrisy is astounding:

“Surveilling a professor’s communications is a really troubling approach to protecting liberty,” the law professors wrote in a letter published Tuesday on the Chapel Hill News website and in the paper’s Wednesday print edition. “We deeply admire Gene Nichol’s commitment to protecting and speaking for the state’s poor and disempowered. The only comfort we take from this sorry request by Civitas is our confidence that it will increase his passion.”

“They’re all tenured law professors making big bucks, far more than I make,” De Luca said. “I don’t have any fancy degrees or anything. What are they scared of?”

Of course, we'll have to take your word for the difference in salaries, because the man pulling your strings doesn't make a habit out of releasing salary information on his puppets employees. But even if we knew, what the hell does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Are you saying the more money you make, the less your expectation of privacy should be? Because if that's the case, I think we should go ahead and submit FOIAs for all of Art Pope's communications since he's become a government bureaucrat. If he's done nothing wrong, he shouldn't be scared of that, right?

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