Supreme Court Won’t Hear Appeal Seeking to Revive North Carolina’s Stricter Voting Rules – By Brent Kendall Updated May 15, 2017 1:28 p.m. ET

State moved to drop defense of voting rules after Democrat became governor

This photo taken March 15, 2016, shows rules posted at the door of the voting station at the Alamance Fire Station in Greensboro, N.C. The Supreme Court Monday declined to consider an appeal that sought to revive the state’s Republican-backed tighter rules for voting. Photo: Andrew Krech/Associated Press

WASHINGTON—In a win for voting-rights advocates, the Supreme Court Monday declined to consider an appeal that sought to revive North Carolina’s Republican-backed tighter rules for voting.

The court’s action was a final legal blow against the restrictions. It came after the state’s new Democratic administration sought to drop the case, which prompted an intrastate squabble in which the GOP sought to keep it alive.

A federal appeals court last year invalidated the contested North Carolina voting rules, finding state lawmakers had enacted them with an intent to discriminate against black voters. Because the Supreme Court took a pass on the case, the appeals court ruling will remain the final word in the litigation.

North Carolina, with Republicans in control, passed the changes in 2013, citing a need to preserve the integrity of elections. The new rules didn’t allow voters to register and vote on the same day, and also didn’t allow voting out-of-precinct. The state also reduced the days available for voters to cast a ballot early. The state additionally imposed a requirement that most voters show photo identification such as a driver’s license, passport, or military or veteran’s identification card.

Voters, civil rights groups and the Obama-era Justice Department challenged the North Carolina law, arguing the state purposely made it harder for minorities to vote.

Litigation over the state restrictions was among the most closely watched election law battles ahead of last November’s vote.

The appeals court decision that prohibited the voting restrictions criticized North Carolina lawmakers for targeting African-Americans “with almost surgical precision.”

North Carolina’s then-governor, Republican Pat McCrory, sought emergency intervention from the Supreme Court, asking the justices to restore some measures before election day 2016. That failed when a short-handed high court divided 4-4 along ideological lines, a split that highlighted the absence of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last year.

North Carolina’s underlying appeal to the Supreme Court has been pending in the months since, but the state sought to withdraw it after Roy Cooper, a Democrat, became governor.

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North Carolina Tops Gonzaga In Messy NCAA Championship : The Two-Way : NPR

North Carolina’s Joel Berry II drives around Gonzaga’s Przemek Karnowski during the first half of Monday’s NCAA college basketball tournament title game in Glendale, Ariz. | Mark Humphrey/AP

Monday night’s national title game was expected to be a fast-paced, competitive showcase for North Carolina forward Justin Jackson and Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, two of the best players in college this season.

It was certainly competitive, but with both teams’ tough defenses locking up the main offensive options, the game turned into a foul-laden slog rather than a shootout. The Tar Heels were able to pin their opponent in the end, 71-65, winning the school’s sixth national title.

Fittingly it was empty possessions by Gonzaga in the final minute that put the game away, as North Carolina ended the game on a 9-2 run.

With Jackson struggling — he shot 6-19 and missed nine three-pointers — junior point guard Joel Berry II stepped up, scoring 22 and hitting the UNC’s only four three-point shots, and was named the tourney’s most outstanding player. Forward Isaiah Hicks added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Source: North Carolina Tops Gonzaga In Messy NCAA Championship : The Two-Way : NPR

North Carolina Lawmakers, Governor Announce ‘Compromise’ To Repeal ‘Bathroom Bill’ – JAMES DOUBEK March 30, 20173:11 AM ET

Cassandra Thomas of Human Rights Campaign holds a sign advocating the repeal of HB2 on Dec. 7 in Charlotte.
Brian Gomsak/AP Images for Human Rights Campaign

Brian Gomsak/AP Images for Human Rights Campaign

Republican lawmakers and the Democratic governor of North Carolina say they’ve reached a deal to repeal the controversial “bathroom bill” that restricts the abilities of transgender people to use the restroom corresponding to their gender identity.

But LGBT activists quickly denounced the proposed bill, which would limit the ability of local officials to extend protections to transgender people for at least four years.

The measure is set to be debated and voted on Thursday by state lawmakers, though it’s reportedly not sure to pass. Democrats are divided on the bill, WUNC’s Jeff Tiberii reports, and the vote is expected to be close.

Republican leaders Rep. Tim Moore and Sen. Phil Berger of North Carolina’s General Assembly said in a statement late Wednesday: “Compromise requires give and take from all sides, and we are pleased this proposal fully protects bathroom safety and privacy.”

According to Moore and Berger, the bill leaves regulation of “multi-occupancy facilities to the state,” and puts in place a “temporary moratorium on local ordinances similar to Charlotte’s until December 1, 2020 to allow federal litigation to play out.”

Democrat Roy Cooper, who eked out a win over former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in November’s election, said he supports the bill. “It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation,” the governor said in a statement.

The agreement was reached shortly before a deadline which would have caused North Carolina to lose the option of hosting NCAA basketball championships, Reuters reports.

The college athletic association and other civic and business groups had taken steps to sanction or boycott North Carolina because of the law.

Lawmakers passed HB2 in March 2016 under Gov. McCrory. It requires transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate in government buildings. The law also limits localities’ ability to pass nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

State lawmakers passed the measure in response to a Charlotte ordinance that would have protected the rights of transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

Chad Griffin, president of the LGBT rights organization Human Rights Campaign, tweeted that the deal was a “state-wide prohibition on equality” and “doubles down on discrimination.”

Any ally of the LGBTQ community cannot support this new version of #HB2. There will be political consequences for those who do, Dem and Rep.

— Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) March 30, 2017

Previous deals to repeal HB2 have fallen apart.

Earlier this week, The Associated Press estimated that a continuation of HB2 would cost North Carolina $3.76 billion over the course of 12 years.

Repeal Of North Carolina’s HB2 Law Fails As Legislature Adjourns Special Session : The Two-Way : NPR

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Source: Repeal Of North Carolina’s HB2 Law Fails As Legislature Adjourns Special Session : The Two-Way : NPR

As Republicans lose their grip on North Carolina, they deal one final blow – Jonathan M Katz in Emerald Isle, North Carolina Saturday 17 December 2016 06.30 EST

A month after what was a smoldering tire fire of an election for progressives, opponents of North Carolina’s belligerent Republican party got a small breath of fresh air when Democrat Roy Cooper emerged as the winner of the governor’s race.

Cooper’s extremely narrow victory – conceded by sitting governor Pat McCrory after weeks of failed challenges and recounts – ended four years of one-party control in a diverse state long known for political balance in government.

Many of Cooper’s supporters hoped the new governor, seen as a moderate in his long career as state attorney general, would at least be able to slow the barrage of conservative lawmaking that began with a concerted effort by major Republican donors to flip the state legislature in 2010.

Immediately following McCrory’s concession, however, Republicans lawmakers called an emergency meeting of the state legislature.

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Republican legislators in North Carolina curb the powers of the incoming Democratic governor – Dec 16th 2016, 13:34 BY A.M. | ATLANTA

WHEN, last week, Pat McCrory finally admitted defeat in North Carolina’s governor’s contest, belatedly abandoning his graceless demand for a recount, it looked as if Republican efforts to sway the state’s elections had finally been exhausted. A voter-ID rule, and other restrictions passed by Republican legislators, had been thrown out by a federal court that found they targeted black voters “with almost surgical precision”; still, say voting-rights activists, limited opportunities for early voting nevertheless suppressed black turnout in November. Gerrymandering, meanwhile, had already helped to assure Republican supermajorities in the state legislature, which will enable lawmakers to override the veto of Roy Cooper, the new Democratic governor—a reason, some in North Carolina thought, that they might not be too distressed by his victory.

Alas, that view overestimated their maturity. This week state Republicans called an additional special session of the General Assembly, in which they are considering a series of bills to dilute the power of the governorship before Mr Cooper assumes it on January 1st; assuming, as seems plausible, that Mr McCrory, the defeated incumbent, signs the measures into law in the dying days of his tenure. The proposals include a requirement for the governor’s cabinet picks to be approved by the Republican-dominated state Senate (they are currently made at his discretion), plus a broader curb over his appointment powers. The clout of the superintendent of education (unsurprisingly, a Republican) could be boosted at the governor’s expense. Mr Cooper would also lose control of the state election board, which would nominally become bipartisan, its chairmanship alternating between the parties—but serendipitously falling to Republicans in the years in which most elections are held. The court system would be rejigged. Taken together, all this would hamper the governor’s efforts to pursue his agenda, and enhance the ability of statehouse Republicans to advance theirs without his consent. If you can’t beat ‘em, neuter ‘em.

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