Anti-public financing lawyer James Bopp has filed a lawsuit to make North Carolina abandon part of the “voter-owned elections” program for state judicial candidates. It’s the part that awards candidates in the public program extra money if their privately financed opponents spend beyond a certain limit. But the US Supreme Court has already ruled that a similar matching funds provision in Arizona is illegal, and NC regulators say they have no intent of using the NC version of the provision. In fact, on Thursday, the State Board of Elections ordered the Town of Chapel Hill to abandon the provision in its program for municipal candidates in 2011. So why did Bopp file his lawsuit? Maybe he wants to make a point: He had challenged this provision years ago and the federal courts repeatedly ruled against him and his client, the NC Right to Life organization. But now that Chief Justice John Roberts is in charge, facts and precedent matter less than ideology and politics. As a result, James Bopp has been on a roll; he’s the same attorney who brought the Citizens United case to the Supremes. In his current suit against North Carolina, he also wants to collect attorney’s fees – and some say his suit may just be a way to get a judge to award him a million dollars or more for the expenses of his previous NC suits that failed. Hmm . . . J. Bopp, a publicly financed lawyer.
Voter-Owned Elections Category
You are welcome to submit comments to this moderated blog. Please treat others with respect, avoid partisan rhetoric, and help us provide a fact-based discussion of issues related to North Carolina’s political landscape. Thank you.
Thursday, June 30th, 2011
This week has definitely been one for the books!!!! We’ve been tabling, phone banking, writing letters to the editor, researching, base building, and even some picketing. Our week began on Saturday. We tabled at an event in Ayden, North Carolina to try to get residents up-to-date with the Voter Photo ID bill and also to introduce our work on money in politics. We were expecting a large turnout but the heat must have kept people inside because there weren’t as many people as we expected. Monday afternoon we phone banked after we realized that in the haste of week 4 we forgot to phone bank on Friday night. We’ve had VERY successful phone banking nights the last past two weeks so we were pumped about phone banking again (never thought we’d say that). Monday, Shaunee told us that things may get a little more interesting in the week. A picket protesting the GOP fundraiser had been scheduled for Wednesday and we were going. Tuesday we went to work with posters, markers, and posterboard in hand to make signs for the protest and we brainstormed catchy slogans that we could use. Of course work never stops so on Wednesday, even though we had a picket later in the day in Raleigh, we still traveled to Halifax early in the morning to do some base building and go out to a few one on ones we had set up. We received and impromptu tour of the Tillery Community Center which was definitely nice and informational. On Wednesday we definitely learned something new. After our tour we were back on the road again to Raleigh. As we turned down Franklin Street we approached a crowd of people, signs, and police cars. Yes….we were in the right place. We enjoyed our first protest under Dem NC and it was definitely nice to see people come together from different organizations and walks of life. While we have enjoyed our work so far, we would be lying if we said that we were not excited about our upcoming 4 day weekend.
P.S. We got another letter to the editor published in the Wilson Daily times on redistricting in Wilson, NC (see letter below)
2010 marked the year of another Census, which means another round of redistricting. Every 10 years when the Census is counted district lines are examined and adjusted if deemed necessary to accommodate shifts in populations. The city of Wilson is offering a public hearing to discuss two redistricting plans that the city council is considering. This public hearing allows citizens to come out and voice their concerns, issues, and suggestions about the districts in the city of Wilson.
This is an effort to get residents of Wilson to let their voice be heard, so why not take advantage? If your districts change and you have not educated yourself on the proposals, or taken the time out to voice your opinion on them, your complaint is in vain.
Individuals like transparent government; this is transparency in one of its best forms. I strongly urge residents of Wilson to attend the redistricting public hearing on July 21 during the city council meeting. I have attended several redistricting public hearings and workshops across the eastern North Carolina area and can attest to the fact that they are informative and allow input from residents.
Redistricting maps out who you vote for, it’s only right that you have a voice in that process.
Jasmine and Shaniqua
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
We are in week four and we have been busy busy busy. On Saturday we were stationed in both Wilson and Greenville doing voter registration and speaking on our work as a part of Democracy North Carolina. Monday was set aside as an administrative day but on Tuesday we were back on the road again. We had meetings in Wilson and then had to began our Cut the Strings Tour with a showing of the Academy Award winning documentary Inside Job in Greenville. We have been working on getting the word out about our money in politics work since so much has been focused on voting and redistricting. We weren’t sure at first how many people we would come out, but to our delight we had a crowd of at least 50. After seeing the film multiple people spoke up about how “upset” (or other choice of words) that the film made them. We had a really good discussion of how money plays a role in government and how everyone could get involved to try and stop it. By the end of the night we had 49 petition signatures! That was a lot more than we expected to get. It was a really tiring night, but we were so pleased to see that so many people had taken an interest in this issue.
Until next time,
Jasmine and Shaniqua
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
This weekend in Charlotte…
On a lovely Saturday morning, we attended the infamous Black Berry Brunch with its galore of summer hats; pastel colored suits and finely dressed escorts. The event was hosted by the Black Women Caucus to discuss the ignored efforts the state has on Education and to celebrate the recognized awardees for their hard work over the past year. There were words of honesty, encouragement and wisdom. There was singing to commemorate those who gave their time to attend the brunch and there was great food to rave the space with elegance and to warm-heartedly allow us to appreciate our stomachs. It was a celebration in which we took advantage of in getting some petitions signed because many and more were happy to abide. It was greatly informative and made us feel inspired to work and refreshed our passion to have our voices listened to.
Mayisa Mesbah and Joyce Lutu