This is a follow up to my posting back on Sept 6th of last year looking into efforts by North Carolina’s Republican legislature to suppress the minority vote. Because the Supreme Court will NOT review the lower court’s decision, this clearly racist and undemocratic act is officially dead. We can breathe a sigh of relief now. But know that even though Rethuglicans have lost the governorship in NC, they still control both houses of the legislature and they are not going to stop trying to keep minorities from showing up at the polls.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. cited the state’s changed political scene in the order and noted the justices’ did not address the merits of the case.
Source: Supreme Court won’t review decision that found N.C. voting law discriminates against African Americans – The Washington Post
In a previous posting about North Carolina’s discriminatory House Bill 2, I wrote about the NBA’s decision to move the 2017 All Star Game out of North Carolina because of the newly-enacted law that removed local protections for LGBT people. That posting hit da bulldog blog on July 22nd. HB2 also mandated that transgendered people use the bathroom corresponding with the gender listed on their birth certificate rather than the one with which they identify.
The back story here is that the city of Charlotte had just passed an ordinance giving specific protections to LGBT citizens; this sent conservative people and legislators into a state of virtual panic. HB2, aka the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, was their strategy to make sure that no city in North Carolina could get away with the horrible crime of offering protections to LGBT citizens or allowing transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding with the gender to which they had or were in the process of transitioning.
When the NBA made the decision to take away the All Star Game, North Carolina was put on notice that the NCAA was also taking a hard look at the NCAA events which had been scheduled for the up-coming year in the state. Well, the proverbial “other shoe” just dropped; the price paid by a state for openly discriminating against some of its citizens just went up. Went up quite a bit.
To read an in-depth article about the latest economic hit North Carolina is taking because of its elected officials carrying on this guerrilla campaign against civil rights for gay and transgender people, follow this link.
Governor Pat McCrory played a major role in bringing into being this hated law. The good governor and his cronies are not going to reconsider this very, very ill-advised piece of legislation. Their position is that the God-fearing citizens of North Carolina must be protected from crafty, skirt-wearing male predators hell-bent on committing unspeakable crimes in the locker rooms and bathrooms of their state. Protected at all costs. Even if it puts at risk the safety of transgender people; even if it causes very, very serious economic damage to their state. They will not back down.
People who are very upset that the country at large has made a conscious decision to stop treating LGBT people as second-class citizens will go on passing laws that allow them to keep up the discrimination. The justification may be the safety of the (straight) citizens of the state; the justification may be the preservation of religious freedom. The bottom line is that they’re not going to stop. And people and institutions — such as the NBA and the NCAA — are going to go on letting North Carolina know that that is not acceptable. Watch this space…
Rethuglican legislators in many red states have been trying hard to keep the “wrong kind” of voters from the polls ever since the SCOTUS gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act; that unfortunate decision, Shelby County v. Holder, came down in June of 2013.
There have been so many regressive laws passed since that decision which were calculated to keep the a large segment of Democratic base from participating in elections — Presidential elections — in particular. One of the most notorious and far-reaching of those bills came out North Carolina in July of 2013. HB 589 was hastily passed with very little public comment and was immediately challenged. Although it was originally upheld on appeal, last month the Appeals Court for the 4th Circuit struck down HB 589 saying — among other things — that it was crafted “with surgical precision” to keep African Americans from voting in North Carolina.
I first blogged about the decision striking down this accursed bill on July 29th. That posting was entitled Strict Voter ID Law Overturned by Appeals Court; you can view it by clicking on the category American Life and Politics without having to scroll back through four months’ worth of posts.
This is really a follow-up to highlight an excellent WaPo article by William Wan which lays out the larger story about how this hellish bill came to be; I found it to be a very good and detailed piece and recommend to anyone who has an interest in North Carolina’s Voter ID law or voter suppression techniques in general. You can read it by following this link.
Now that we’re a mere 62 days away from a truly monumental Presidential election we need to remain on-guard. The Republican Party knows that a huge chunk of the American electorate — and the courts — are onto their game. We can’t afford to sit idly by while they do their damnedest to disenfranchise voters they don’t like on election day.
A decision handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit found that North Carolina’s 2012 law requiring a picture ID at the polls is unconstitutional. The law took away a week of early voting as well.
Seventeen states in all have enacted laws restricting voting since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Right Act in 2013. And, in every case, the Republican legislators who pushed through the changes said it was all about preventing voter fraud and most certainly was not about suppressing voter turnout among minorities. They were lying. And it didn’t take long for the Appeals Court for the 4th Circuit to figure that out.
The NAACP–which brought the suit–and the U.S. Justice Dept were pleased with the ruling. Pat McCrory, the Republican governor of North Carolina, was not.
Those who actually want Americans to be able vote are hopeful that the ruling may bode well for lawsuits pending in other circuits against similar state laws. Suits are underway now in Virginia and Texas among others. Of course, it may never be known whether today’s ruling will have any effect; one can only hope.
It certainly will have an effect on voters who wish to vote on November 8th but do not have a Driver’s License. It will be an unabashedly good thing for people who were hoping to vote early.
Voting is a precious right in American and one upon which the health of our democracy depends. And it’s a very good thing that appeals courts are making it tougher for state legislatures to deny or limit that right.
To read an in-depth article about today’s Appeals Court decision, follow this link.
Four months ago, the State Legislature in North Carolina passed the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, commonly known as House Bill 2. The bill nullified the City of Charlotte’s newly-passed ordinance forbidding discrimination against LGBTQ citizens, mandated that transgendered people use the bathrooms that correspond with the gender listed on their birth certificates and took away the right of anyone to sue in state courts if they believe they had been discriminated against for just about anything. It also took away from cities and counties any authority to set a minimum wage or make any ordinance pertaining to child labor.
I’ve followed this story closely and I’m quite sure that the bigots in the N.C. Legislature who put together this bill did not anticipate the blow-back. It was swift. Though the opinions of the people of North Carolina are mixed, a lot of people, celebrities and businesses were up-in-arms over the law and said so.
Sports organizations and leagues have been adopting strong and unambiguous non-discrimination policies for quite a while that include LGBTQ people and they joined in on the strong and vocal protestations about HB 2. The NBA made its displeasure known right away and went on record as saying that pulling the 2017 All Star Game from Charlotte was a possibility if the law was not scrapped.
Well, today–after much discussion with North Carolina–the league announced that they were, in fact, pulling the game and beginning the search for a new host city. This is a very big deal. The city will lose a 100 million dollar boost to their economy. This is in addition to millions of dollars already lost from other people, businesses and organizations nixing business dealings with the state.
For details about the NBA’s decision to move next year’s All Star Game, click here.
For a concise and objective summation of North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, follow this link.
Governor Pat McCrory and his cronies in the legislature are standing firm. I can’t envision any scenario where the state’s lawmakers would repeal HB 2. They’re going to go down with the ship. And it’s a crying shame that the economy of North Carolina is going to go down with them.
“Bulldog Ben” Basile