The Usurpers, revisited

"If the usurper legislature does attempt to override the veto," Carter wrote in the letter dated Friday, "it opens itself up to litigation wherein the North Carolina State Courts may be asked to issue a declaratory judgment that the law is facially unconstitutional and void ab initio."

County Commissioners' prayer case may be headed to US Supreme Court

Please bow your head while you read this:

On Wednesday, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, by a 9-6 count, ruled that prayer practices by Jackson County, Michigan, commissioners do not violate the U.S. Constitution. The court said the commissioners in Michigan adopted a religion-neutral practice. Writing for the majority, Judge Richard Griffin said there is no evidence the board adopted its prayer practices with discriminatory intent.

The ruling does not directly affect Rowan County’s lawsuit. However, in what’s known as a circuit split, Wednesday’s decision could increase the chances that one or both cases will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

I wish they would just outlaw this and be done with it. I find myself in an increasingly uncomfortable position, because of my involvement in my Town's government. First of all, I serve on the Planning Board at the pleasure of the Board of Aldermen. I take that responsibility very seriously, and actively opposing them or the Mayor over a procedural issue is not something I'd care to do. There's too many things I want to accomplish, and we need each other's trust and support to do that. Second, I have run for office and (very likely) will do so again in the near future, and getting on the wrong side of local church leaders is an express ticket to failure at the ballot box. So I've got personal principles on one side and political realities on the other, and I feel like they're squeezing me. And that alone should be proof enough that prayer and (good) government don't mix.

Thursday News: Go Josh!


NC'S ATTORNEY GENERAL JOINS LAWSUIT AGAINST TRUMP FOR DACA REPEAL: North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has joined a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s plans to rescind the executive order that protected young immigrants from deportation even if they did not have documentation authorizing them to live in the United States. “Ending DACA isn’t just cruel to Dreamers, against our American values, and the wrong thing to do for our nation’s economy, it also violates our Constitution,” Stein said in a statement shortly after the lawsuit was filed in the federal Eastern District of New York. “I will do everything in my power to restore DACA for the tens of thousands of young people in North Carolina who rely on it – including fighting for them in court.”

Carl Ford stakes claim to newly-created Senate District

Republicans are not waiting around to see what the courts decide:

If the new maps hold up in federal court, which found that existing maps include racial gerrymanders, Ford would not have to face an incumbent in the 2018 election or a special election, if the court orders one. There is no incumbent legislator in the newly drawn 33rd District. Sen. Cathy Dunn, a Republican from Davidson County, currently represents the 33rd District, but she was placed in a different district in the new maps, which were approved last week by the N.C. General Assembly.

“I am excited to see what the future will bring for Rowan and Stanly counties, and I look forward to being a part of that,” Ford said in his news release. “I take the opportunity to represent more people very serious and bathed this decision with lots of thought and prayer.”

Might not be politically astute for me to say it, but I don't care what the damn demographics are in this new District: Anybody who "bathes" a decision in prayer needs to be challenged for that seat. That's some serious Theocratical BS right there, more like something that would have come out of Cotton Mathers' mouth in 1692 than a lawmaker in the 21st Century. Sheesh.

Gerrymandering is the result of poor campaigning, not the cause

This may seem like a harsh assessment, but denying it won't help:

It comforts some Democrats to believe that gerrymandering and voter suppression are behind this debacle. That’s a rationalization, not an explanation: You can’t gerrymander Senate seats and governorships, and before Republicans could use such tactics, they had to win control of state legislatures in the first place. The GOP gains in these areas have come partly from a concerted effort, more than a dozen years old, to invest money and effort in winning these races. This is slow, unglamorous work, but it is paying off. By contrast, Democrats are more than eager to attend fundraisers for the next bright, shiny presidential contender or hot special-election candidate. Organizing to win back the North Carolina legislature? Not so much.

We've got roughly 13 months before the 2018 Election, in which *all* the General Assembly seats will be up for grabs, and all 13 US Congressional seats will be contested. The last time around, we set our sights on one narrow goal, to pick up a handful of seats in the NC House to undo the GOP's Veto-proof majority. That failed. Miserably. But now I'm hearing the same thing for 2018. And somehow, if we do that this time, this will give us the momentum to take back both houses in 2020. But the problem is, those 2020 district races will have the same partisan demographics that are in place for 2018. What's going to change in that two-year span to bring about this magical result? A couple of truisms: If it's impossible now, it will be impossible in 2020. By the same token, if it will be possible in 2020, then it is possible for 2018.

Wednesday News: A long time coming


DEQ FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST CHEMOURS FOR CONTAMINATING CAPE FEAR RIVER: The plant in question is now owned by Chemours, a spin-off of DuPont, which previously owned the plant. State lawmakers and others have accused both companies of secretly dumping pollutants into the Cape Fear River from the plant, located south of Fayetteville, for nearly 40 years. The lawsuit filed Tuesday against Chemours by Cooper’s environmental department seeks “to address environmental contamination caused by Chemours’ release of certain chemical manufacturing byproducts” into the Cape Fear River from its Fayetteville Works plant, the state’s lawyers wrote.

Tuesday News: And a child shall lead them


PATRICK MCHENRY TAKES TIME OFF FROM POLITICAL GRAFT TO WHIP FELLOW REPUBLICANS: It is Rep. Patrick McHenry’s job to corner, count and cajole his fractious Republican colleagues into a cohesive – or, at least, cohesive enough – voting bloc to pass legislation. The 41-year-old McHenry, in his seventh term in the House, is the acting majority whip, forced into the job when close friend Steve Scalise was seriously injured in a politically motivated shooting at a congressional baseball practice earlier this year. He serves as vice chairman of the Financial Services Committee, a role that nets him outsized donations for his safe district. Between his campaign and his political action committee, McHenry brought in nearly $5 million during the 2016 cycle. More than $1.6 million came from the securities and investment, insurance, commercial bank and real estate industries, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

A very important question:

No doubt the biggest systemic cause for this is "right to work" laws, which have blanketed over half the country. But an earlier action by Ronald Reagan when he broke the air traffic controllers' union may have set it all in motion:


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