Gerrymandering was already shaping up to be an important issue this year, with huge implications for American democracy. But after the ruling this week on the North Carolina congressional map, the stakes have been raised still higher.
For the first time, a federal panel of judges ruled that a state’s map of its congressional districts was unconstitutional. The North Carolina map didn’t just give an advantage to Republicans – it manifested “invidious partisan intent.” The panel directed the state to draw the districts again by Jan. 24. Continue reading →
In an act of civil disobedience and solidarity, more than 200 citizens offered to turn themselves in for toppling a Confederate monument in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo: @pharris830/Twitter)
More than 200 Durham, North Carolina residents stood outside a jail on Thursday, attempting to turn themselves in for the removal of the city’s Confederate Soldiers Monument—to protest the arrests of eight people who have been accused of dismantling the monument. The group chanted, “Thank you, we love you,” in support of those who were arrested. Continue reading →
Demonstrators in Arizona, such as these workers striking for higher wages at a Walmart in Phoenix, could face racketeering charges and asset forfeiture under the law passed by the state senate. (Photo: Deanna Dent/UFCW International Union/flickr/cc)
At least 19 U.S. states have introduced bills that attack the right to protest since Donald Trump’s election as president, an “alarming and undemocratic” trend, U.N. human rights investigators said this week.
Maina Kiai and David Kaye, independent U.N. experts on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression respectively, are calling on lawmakers in the United States to stop the “alarming” trend of “undemocratic” anti-protest bills designed to criminalize or impede the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. Continue reading →
Report documents “massive closures” of polling places since Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. (Photo: Sharon M Leon/flickr/cc)
Voters in U.S. counties previously covered by the Voting Rights Act (VRA) will have at least 868 fewer places to cast ballots in the 2016 election than they did previously, according to a new analysis released Friday.
In fact, the report (pdf) from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights finds that in the wake of the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision gutting the VRA, “[c]ounties and states with known records of voting discrimination are closing polling places on a massive scale.” This is among other negative outcomes of the ruling, which Common Dreams has covered extensively. Continue reading →
A federal appeals court on Friday struck down North Carolina’s controversial voter ID law, ruling that the 2013 law was created “with discriminatory intent.”
Civil rights groups hailed the decision as a major victory.
“With surgical precision, North Carolina tried to eliminate voting practices disproportionately used by African-Americans. This ruling is a stinging rebuke of the state’s attempt to undermine African-American voter participation, which had surged over the last decade,” said Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Voting Rights Project. “It is a major victory for North Carolina voters and for voting rights.” Continue reading →
A few of the plaintiffs in the federal court challenge brought by Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and the ACLU of North Carolina. (Photo: ACLU of North Carolina)
As North Carolina’s General Assembly began its new session on Monday, it was greeted by tens of thousands of people calling for the repeal of the state’s much maligned anti-LGBTQ House Bill 2 (HB 2), passed during a one-day special session on March 23.
The legislation, which opponents say is unconstitutional, requires that transgender people use bathrooms that match the sex on their birth certificates, and forbids cities and counties from enacting their own ordinances to prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender people. Continue reading →
A lower court ruling issued earlier this month will be left intact and elections in the state’s 1st and 12th districts, both majority black, will be paused until new maps are approved. (Photo: Matt Wade/flickr/cc)
Late Friday night, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to stay a ruling that ordered two North Carolina congressional districts to be redrawn.
According to the Raleigh News & Observer, that means a lower court ruling issued earlier this month will be left intact and elections in the state’s 1st and 12th districts, both majority black, will be paused until new maps are approved.
The order, which is one of the first significant actions the court has taken since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last week, was issued in a one-line ruling with little explanation. Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSBlogreports: Continue reading →
Thousands of people marched and rallied in the frigid streets of Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday morning to demand a restoration of voting rights and voice broad support for a new progressive agenda to counter the current policies of Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican-controlled state legislature.
Organized by the Move Forward Together Movement and the North Carolina Chapter of the NAACP, led by Rev. William Barber III, the demonstration attracted a diverse coalition of individuals and organizations who say the systematic attack on state services—including healthcare and education—along with eroded democratic control and new voting restrictions, have disempowered and further marginalized the state’s most vulnerable populations. Continue reading →
“This is yet another example of the state attempting to lure the fracking industry to North Carolina over the objection of those who would be most directly impacted,” said Brooks Rainey Pearson, a staff attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. (Photo: Daniel Foster/cc/flickr)
After a number of local governments enacted temporary moratoriums on oil and natural gas development, including fracking, the Republican-led North Carolina government issued a resounding response: Drillers welcome!
A last-minute markup passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory last week “renders ‘invalidated and unenforceable’ local ordinances that place conditions on fracking that go beyond those restrictions drafted by state oil-and-gas regulations,” the Winston-Salem Journalreported on Monday. Continue reading →
Last year’s Moral March on Raleigh. (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)
Rallying around a 14-point “People’s Agenda,” thousands gathered in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday for the annual Moral March calling for livable wages, environmental justice, healthcare for all, an end to racism and inequality, and more.
The movement stands in opposition to “the extreme and regressive agenda being pushed in North Carolina”—an agenda it says is “a reflection of what is happening across the United States.”