Vote NO on ALL Six North Carolina Constitutional Amendments

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Image: NC Policy Watch

The NC General Assembly’s chicanery should not be rewarded.

You can’t separate the six proposed constitutional amendments from how they were devised. The Republicans rushed these amendments through at the last minute, without debate, discussion, or even an implementing statute, which means they’ll get to decide later—in a lame-duck session—what these amendments really do, after you’ve already voted on them. The proper response to this chicanery: Vote no on all six.

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Trump Is Rapidly Reshaping the Judiciary. Here’s How.

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In the weeks before Donald J. Trump took office, lawyers joining his administration gathered at a law firm near the Capitol, where Donald F. McGahn II, the soon-to-be White House counsel, filled a white board with a secret battle plan to fill the federal appeals courts with young and deeply conservative judges.

Mr. McGahn, instructed by Mr. Trump to maximize the opportunity to reshape the judiciary, mapped out potential nominees and a strategy, according to two people familiar with the effort: Start by filling vacancies on appeals courts with multiple openings and where Democratic senators up for re-election next year in states won by Mr. Trump — like Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania — could be pressured not to block his nominees. And to speed them through confirmation, avoid clogging the Senate with too many nominees for the district courts, where legal philosophy is less crucial.

Nearly a year later, that plan is coming to fruition. Mr. Trump has already appointed eight appellate judges, the most this early in a presidency since Richard M. Nixon, and on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to send a ninth appellate nominee — Mr. Trump’s deputy White House counsel, Gregory Katsas — to the floor.

Republicans are systematically filling appellate seats they held open during President Barack Obama’s final two years in office with a particularly conservative group of judges with life tenure. Democrats — who in late 2013 abolished the ability of 41 lawmakers to block such nominees with a filibuster, then quickly lost control of the Senate — have scant power to stop them.

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Posted by Libergirl, who says who cares about his tweeting…this is what is going on that will effect all of us.


Wake up people! The Right is just getting started…North Carolina General Assembly…Rouge One

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Image: NC Policy Watch

Conservatives are working to radically overhaul the American social contract

At the conclusion of the whirlwind 2011 session of the North Carolina General Assembly — a session in which new conservative majorities pushed through a raft of dramatic policy changes —many progressive North Carolinians surveyed the aftermath and found themselves actually breathing a sigh of relief. There was a widespread feeling that the fury of the storm had passed, that the Right had vented its collective spleen and that, having pushed through so much of its long-stymied policy agenda, conservative leaders would settle down to focus on governing the state.

The simple truth is that the Right was then and is now only just getting started. If you doubt this, take a gander at the outrageous list of destructive proposals debated in the General Assembly last week. On issue after issue – K-12 and higher education, taxes, voting rights, the environment, the safety net, church and state, immigration, guns, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, the relationship between corporations and human beings – conservative politicians and advocacy groups that inform and fuel their efforts are pushing the envelope ever further to the right.

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No SCOTUS without NRA approval says Mitch McConnell

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took his Supreme Court obstruction road show to the air this weekend, explaining on Fox News Sunday that there is no way, ever, that he will allow a vote on Merrick Garland. His overlords just won’t allow it.


WALLACE:  So, final question—just to make it clear—you’re saying no consider—no consideration of Judge Garland by this Congress even if Hillary Clinton wins the election?  No consideration by this Congress?  You’re going to stand firm on that even in a lame duck session?

MCCONNELL:  Yes. I can’t imagine that a Republican majority in the United States Senate would want to confirm in a lame duck session a nominee opposed by the National Rifle Association, the National Federation of Independent Business that represents small businesses that have never taken a position on the Supreme Court appointment before. They’re opposed to this guy.

I can’t imagine that a Republican majority Senate, even if it were assumed to be a minority, would want to confirm a judge that would most court dramatically to the left.  That’s not going to happen.

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Supreme Court: States Can Ban Affirmative Action Policies

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The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that states can ban affirmative action policies without violating the U.S. Constitution.

The ruling, in a 6-2 decision, upholds a voter-approved amendment to Michigan’s state constitution that prohibits race-based college admissions decisions, effectively banning affirmative action in the state. The Supreme Court reversed a lower court opinion that the ban was discriminatory. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined for a dissenting decision. Justice Elena Kagan did not participate.

Seven other states—Arizona, California, Florida, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Washington—have similar bans, and the ruling paves the way for others to vote.

The ruling follows a long-term trend of eroding support in the courts for affirmative action policies across the country, echoing a statement from former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor following a high court ruling in 2003 that upheld the constitutionality of colleges considering race as a factor in college admissions. O’Connor said that…

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High court to consider buffer zones at abortion clinics

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Image: Steven Senne, AP

The Supreme Court steps into the dangerous minefield of abortion protests Wednesday when it takes up a challenge to Massachusetts’ 35-foot buffer zone around reproductive health clinics.

Judging from the court’s last foray on the subject in 2000, at least three justices are likely to oppose the law as a violation of free speech, and several more votes are in doubt. Given the justices’ high regard for the First Amendment, the Bay State’s law — twice upheld by lower courts — could be in jeopardy.

The Colorado buffer zone upheld by the court in a 6-3 ruling 14 years ago was just 8 feet deep. In 2007, Massachusetts officials erected a zone around abortion clinics more than four times as large, citing past violence and disruption outside a Planned Parenthood facility in Boston.

By keeping protesters 35 feet away from clinic doors but allowing clients and staff easy access, the law discriminates based on viewpoints and “indiscriminately criminalizes even peaceful, consensual, non-obstructive conversation and leafleting,” opponents argue in their brief.

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Report: Thousands of Nonviolent Americans Sentenced to Life in Prison Due to War on Drugs and Mandatory Minimums

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Image: Tri-Parish Times

The ACLU released a new report this week examining the growing trend of judges sentencing nonviolent offenders to life in prison without parole. The ACLU found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the War on Drugs, mandatory minimums, and “tough-on-crime” policies are to blame.

The report, A Living Death: A Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenders, profiles 110 of the 3,278 inmates currently serving their life sentences for nonviolent crimes. Most of the offenders were charged with crimes like possession of small amounts of drugs or petty theft.

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