Monday, June 12, 2017




CASH IN THE APPLE for 6-15-17
By Cash Michaels

            THE REDISTRICTING FARCE – So when will it end? I mean how many more Mondays do we have to go through with the US Supreme Court nailing our Republican-led NC legislature to the legal wall for some conniving law or plan they thought they could go get away with?
            Last week, you’ll recall, the US High Court ruled that North Carolina’s legislative redistricting maps were (surprise, surprise) unconstitutional because 28 voting districts drawn by the Republicans in 2011 “stacked and packed” African-American voters, a classic case of racial gerrymandering if ever there was one.
            The week before that, the High Court sent a case back to the NC Supreme Court for a third time because when the GOP had the majority on it, they apparently had no problem with all of the racial gerrymandering their brethren in the state legislature thought they should get away with.
            The week before that, the most high Supremes nailed North Carolina Republican lawmakers for drawing racially gerrymandered districts in the congressional First and Twelfth districts, effectively cramming all the black voters they could find in both so that they could not influence the other 11 congressional races.
            And finally, the week before that, US Supreme Court didn’t even bother to review last year’s US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling striking down North Carolina’s wretched 2013 voter ID law.
            You know, the one that the Fourth Circuit ruled targeted the black vote in our state with “…almost surgical precision.
            What a disgraceful record when it comes to the Republican efforts to suppress the black vote in order to gain and maintain power in our state. And with the US Supreme Court ruling repeatedly that all of this stems from the 2011 restricting maps drawn by Republicans, that means that every election held since 2011, based on those maps, should be null and void, because the voting districts were illegally drawn.
            So the Republican state lawmakers pushing all of these crazy laws down our throats, like the most recent one where you don’t need a gun permit to carry a concealed weapon in most places, weren’t even legally elected.
            And so when can we get new, more constitutionally drawn voting district maps in places? A federal three-judge panel ruled last year that the maps should be redrawn last March, with special elections held this November.
            The Republicans appealed that ruling to the High Court and a stay until that order got top judicial review.
            Well, last week, the US Supreme Court came back agreeing with that three-judge panel, but ordered that panel to reconsider the redrawing of the maps, and special elections.
            Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper ordered state lawmakers into special session last week to begin redrawing the new maps, but (surprise, surprise), Republican leaders refused to do it, saying Cooper’s order is unconstitutional, and they’d rather wait until that three-judge panel orders them to redraw.
            But do you see the trick here? That panel orders new maps and special elections, and the Republicans simply appeal that to the US Supreme Court again, eating up valuable time, and pretty much assuring that 2017 special elections can never happen.
            This isn’t over by a longshot folks. The Republicans have vowed to pass new voter ID laws, and there’s no telling what they’ll come up with if they redraw the maps. They’re goal is to have  death grip on political power at any cost.
            No political party should have that. There should be a nonpartisan redistricting commission in place to take the politics out of voting maps. But guess who doesn’t such a creature to draw fair, unbiased voting districts for us?
            Please, pay close attention to what happens next.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            When the US Supreme Court last week failed to affirm a lower court’s order that the Republican-led NC General Assembly immediately redraw it’s 2011 redistricting map and hold special elections this year because of racial gerrymandering, it unwittingly gave the GOP the tools to make sure special elections aren’t likely happen in 2017.
            State House and Senate Republican legislative leaders flat out rejected Gov. Roy Cooper’s call for a concurrent 14-day Special Session to immediately redraw the voting maps, saying that it was “unconstitutional” for the Democratic governor to do so without “extraordinary occasions.”
            “ [As president of the North Carolina Senate] I ruled his demand for a Special Session unconstitutional,” Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, a Republican, said during a 2:18 Youtube video to GOP supporters.
            Forest went on to say that the NC General Assembly was already in session, and that the “federal court requiring redistricting ordered it to occur during the next session, that is a regular session of the General Assembly. The drafting of legislative districts is not necessary until the 2018 election cycle, which is over a year away (April 2018).”
            Lt. Gov. Forest continued, “ For this reason, the governor’s demand for immediate action, does not meet the constitutional mandate of an extraordinary occasion.”
            “In short, we have plenty of time to act,” Forest added assuredly.
            He continued that “the only reason to order districts redrawn now is to force a special election this year, other than the normal cycle of 2018.”
            To do so would violate the state Constitution, Forest said, which state’s that lawmakers are to serve two-year terms. A special election would force all state lawmakers to cut their terms short to run again this year after many were elected in 2016, this time via the new maps, for an abbreviated term. Then, after being reelected, they would have to gear up again for the regular 2018 reelection campaign, albeit again by the new maps.
            Lt. Gov. Forest also made clear that neither he, nor any of his fellow Republicans, would tolerate new voting maps drawn by the federal court, and hinted that that’s what Gov. Cooper is really striving for in his call for lawmakers to immediately get back to the drawing board.
            “Again, our state Constitution is clear, legislative authority rest solely with the NC General Assembly. Nowhere in our Constitution is this duty shared with, or abdicated to the courts.”
            “Be reminded…,” Forest concluded, “ what the progressive movement cannot attain at the ballot box, they are attempting to attain from the courts.”
            House Republicans 71-44 to cancel Gov. Cooper’s special session, calling it a “political stunt.”
            To Democrats, fighting words, to say the least.
                  “The Supreme Court has issued its decision. The courts have spoken – unanimously – on this issue,” said Senate Minority Leader Sen. Dan Blue (D-Wake)
                  “We have been operating under unconstitutional legislative maps for the past five years. For Republicans to suggest that this issue is not extraordinary is to show contempt for the US Supreme Court, the district courts and the North Carolina voters.
                  “Republicans can try to delay justice,” Sen. Blue continued, “.. but they cannot ignore it.”
            Saying that “…my Republican colleagues may be dragging their feet to fix racially gerrymandered districts and are slow to abide by a process that should begin immediately.,” Sen. Paul Lowe (D-Forsyth) went on to say, “Fixing these maps before the legislature adjourns will save the time and taxpayer money that a special session later in the year would cost. There is no reason for delay. North Carolina voters deserve to know what districts they will be voting in next year.
            But beyond not jeopardizing their majorities in both the state House and Senate, why else would legislative Republicans not want to  redraw unconstitutional gerrymandered voting districts right now?
“Delay tactics poll favorably to their base, and has positive impact on their fundraising,” says Rep. Evelyn Terry  (D-Forsyth), who joined with her colleagues of the Democrat-led NC Legislative Black Caucus last week to call for Republican leadership to immediately redraw the voting lines.
            In it’s ruling last week, the US Supreme court directed the federal three-judge panel to decide again when the voting maps should be redrawn, and if special elections should take place, and when.
            Last Friday, that judicial panel, promising to act promptly,  requested that attorneys for the state, state lawmakers and the NC State Board of Elections, to submit their motions “as expeditiously as possible.”
            On Monday, Gov. Cooper, flanked by Senate Minority Leader Blue and House Minority Leader Rep Darren Jackson (D-Wake) called for special elections to be held before the 2018 legislative session.
            “North Carolina shouldn’t hold another session or have another budget voted on by an unconstitutional legislature,” Cooper said. “Maps should be drawn this month and an election held before next year’s legislative session. If the legislature doesn’t do its job soon the courts should.”



            [RALEIGH] Demanding that state lawmaker “cease and desist” passing anymore legislation until new, constitutional voting maps are drawn and special elections held, Rev. William Barber, outgoing president of the NCNAACP, told reporters Tuesday during a press conference in front of the Legislative Building. "Currently, we have an unconstitutionally constituted, illegal body leading our state legislature, and it has become evident that they are more entrenched than they ever were," Rev. Barber said. "They’re not in office because they won the election. They’re in office, according to the courts, because they cheated, and they used racial methods to cheat. And then, with illegal power, they have passed bills that have hurt all North Carolinians." GOP legislative leaders have refused to begin redrawing maps until a federal court orders them to.

            [HILLSBOROUGH] Outraged parents wanted a ban symbols of the Confederate flag in public schools throughout the county, but the Orange County School Board Monday compromised in its language, and voted to ban symbols “that are indecent, profane or racially intimidating that create a reasonable forecast of disruption” in a revised school dress code. Parents with the Hate-Free Schools Coalition, which originally wanted the Confederate flag banned alone, said they were satisfied with that outcome. Black students had complained that some white students would wear the symbol of the old South on tee-shirts to racially intimidate them on campus.

            [EDGECOMBE COUNTY] Administrators at Southwest Edgecombe County High School have apologized to a graduating student for refusing to give him his diploma at graduation, just because he substituted a graduation speech he authored himself, instead of reading one the school had written for him to read. Marvin Wright, senior class president, says he and his family are angry with his school for embarrassing him by not giving him his diploma at graduation exercises, just because, at the last minute, he decided not to read the speech he was given. Instead, he read one he worked hard to write, saluting his fellow classmates for graduating. School administrators eventually apologized, and the school’s principal hand-delivered Marvin’s diploma to his house Sunday. They admit there was nothing wrong with the student’s speech.

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