Law and the Courts

Law and the Courts

Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Immigration protections in Biden’s social policy bill face a new test in the Senate

WASHINGTON — Nearly 100 House Democrats are pushing the Senate to expand immigration protections in President Joe Biden’s massive social spending and climate bill, and advocates say that it may be a last opportunity for years to advance any reform.The letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Dick Durbin of Illinois, urges the Senate to include in its version a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people—something the Senate parliamentarian already has rejected twice in the bill, known as the Build Back Better Act.

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In Georgia, testimony concludes in trial of men accused of killing unarmed Black jogger, Ahmaud Arbery

Black pastors flock to courthouse from across the country as prosecutor pokes at credibility of man who fired fatal shots The lead prosecutor in Travis McMichael’s murder trial hammered him Thursday for contradictions and failing to take steps to avoid the deadly confrontation that ended with him shooting Ahmaud Arbery on a suburban Brunswick street in February 2020.

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States, cities face deadline for proving how quickly they’ve helped renters in crisis

WASHINGTON — States, cities and counties that excelled at distributing emergency federal aid to renters struggling during the pandemic may soon be rewarded—with yet more cash. Their new funding would be drawn from sluggish states and localities that didn’t move as swiftly to help people facing eviction and homelessness, who were targeted for billions in assistance in relief legislation passed by Congress.

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Members of the public say their testimony was distorted in Senate redistricting process

Maurice Holland Jr. laughed ruefully when he heard that a Republican Senate redistricting leader used Holland’s comments to justify a newly drawn congressional district.   The district, which includes part of the Sandhills, that Republicans drew is the opposite of what Holland wanted.

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DC update: Justices skeptical about NY gun law; Senate GOP blocks John Lewis voting bill

At Supreme Court oral argument, conservative justices question New York gun control law WASHINGTON — Conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court expressed skepticism Wednesday after listening to two hours of oral arguments on a New York law that imposes strict limits on carrying a gun outside the home—a case that will test how far states can go when crafting their own laws.

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Berger-Barringer controversy makes clear that NC should make its judicial ethics rules stronger, not weaker

The justices of the North Carolina Supreme Court are currently debating how they should handle conflicts of interest. Indeed, two Republican justices are now the target of motions to “disqualify” based on alleged conflicts in a case challenging a pair of constitutional amendments adopted and placed on the statewide ballot by the legislature in 2018.

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Supreme Court takes up major gun rights case today. Here’s what’s at stake.

All eyes will be on the U.S. Supreme Court today when the high court will take up the first major Second Amendment case in more than a decade. The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, could have major implications for states and their ability to regulate guns, according to three Duke University scholars.

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Monday numbers: Criminal justice reforms in two NC judicial districts show promise

Tool allows magistrates to make more effective decisions on when to impose bail requirements The UNC School of Government's Criminal Justice Innovation Lab released two reports last month detailing the results of  pretrial procedure reforms piloted in two judicial districts: Forsyth County...

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Wake district attorney faces spirited challenge in March 2022 primary

Challenger says Democratic incumbent is behind the times on issues like the death penalty and marijuana For the first time since winning election in 2014, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman is facing a challenger in the 2022 Democratic primary: Damon Chetson, a criminal defense attorney who focuses on death penalty cases and high-level felonies in state and federal courts.

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‘Must read’ report: The deep racial and ethnic disparities in state prisons

When former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck in 2020, the world witnessed the most racist elements of the U.S. criminal legal system on broad display. The uprisings that followed Floyd’s death articulated a vision for transforming public safety practices and investments.

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Voting rights advocates express concerns over redistricting process at the General Assembly

As lawmakers began drawing voting district maps last week, voting rights advocates and Republican lawmakers differed sharply on the fairness and adequacy of the process. According to the advocates, the process is flawed and fails to deliver on the promise of transparency or to adequately consider community input.

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New revelations shed more light on efforts to question, undermine 2020 election results

U.S. attorney in Georgia quit under pressure from Trump to reject election results, new report confirms Former President Donald Trump forced a top federal prosecutor in Atlanta to step down because he wouldn’t help Trump overturn his loss of Georgia in the 2020 presidential election, a U.S. Senate report released Thursday said.

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As Supreme Court opens new term, NC women make a stand for reproductive freedom

Marchers in several North Carolina cities displayed support for abortion rights on Saturday in hopes of drawing attention to recent legal threats to the 1973 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, Roe vs. Wade. The Women’s March that drew hundreds to Bicentennial Plaza in Raleigh also brought thousands more to cities and towns around the country, including Charlotte, Washington, D.C., New York, and Chicago.

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State Supreme Court to consider possibility of involuntary recusal for Justices Berger and Barringer

Court asks parties for briefs in case challenging 2018 constitutional amendments The Supreme Court of North Carolina issued an order Tuesday directing the parties in the case of NAACP v. Moore and Berger to submit new briefs addressing questions surrounding the recusal of justices.

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Ambitious criminal justice reform agenda spurred by George Floyd murder makes little headway in NC

The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May of 2020 and the demonstrations that ensued in scores of communities helped spur efforts across the nation during the months that followed to reassess systems of policing and criminal justice. North Carolina State Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed, D-Mecklenburg, says the Floyd murder illustrated an injustice in policing that is both “frightening” to a lot of people in the country and badly in need of attention...

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Monday numbers: a closer look at the election turnout rates of white and Black voters

As U.S. Senate Democrats united behind a bill dubbed the "Freedom to Vote Act" that would expand voter registration, promote nonpartisan redistricting and designate Election Day a federal holiday, experts at the Brennan Center for Justice have identified gaps in voter turnout that warrant stronger protection for non-white voters.

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