I was afraid of this and last week on White Wednesday in what is now Redville it was confirmed. Some women are actually...

Court ruling would restore state's democracy


Judge James A. Wynn Jr., a native of Martin County, is part of a three-judge panel that has twice struck down a congressional district plan drawn by North Carolina Republicans.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Has the North Carolina General Assembly’s gerrymandering finally become so blatant and destructive of democracy that the courts will end politically inspired redistricting for good? Maybe. In fact, it’s beginning to look that way.

A three-judge federal panel has now ruled twice that North Carolina lawmakers pushed political gerrymandering beyond any reasonable limits and created electoral districts that stomp on the soul and principles of democracy. The first ruling, tinged with considerable judicial outrage, was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices used their last term to duck several similar issues, sending our case and several others back to the lower courts for review.

This week, the panel that reviewed the North Carolina case came back with an even stronger rebuke to the architects of this state’s electoral maps. Writing for the judicial panel, Judge James Wynn of the U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit said that, “We continue to lament that North Carolina voters now have been deprived of a constitutional congressional districting plan — and therefore, constitutional representation in Congress — for six years and three election cycles.” Giving the lawmakers another shot at redrawing the map, he said, “would further delay electing representatives under a constitutional districting.” The judges said they’re not inclined to give the lawmakers another chance, but may instead appoint a special master to do the job for them.

It’s about time. The lawmakers who drew the state’s electoral districts, led by state Rep. David Lewis of Harnett County, were blatant and unrepentant about their political bias. “I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats,” Lewis said when the latest plan was adopted in 2016. “I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.”

So he did indeed oversee a map that gives Republicans an overwhelming majority in our state’s congressional and General Assembly delegations — despite the fact that this state’s Republican population lags behind both Democrats and unaffiliated voters. On statewide races and issues, this state tends “purple,” sometimes selecting Democrats and sometimes Republicans, usually in a fairly close vote. Logic would dictate that our congressional delegation and our General Assembly would reflect that balance. But thanks to the wonders of computer-generated electoral maps, the Republicans have given themselves a completely unrepresentative grip on the political process, including the ability to easily override any vetoes cast by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

Federal appeals courts and the U.S. Supreme Court have long held that redistricting is an inherently political process and they consistently upheld challenges to gerrymandering. But now, the process has become so outrageous — with North Carolina serving as a shameful national example — that the courts are leaning strongly toward some limits on partisan redistricting.

The timing of this latest decision may be disruptive. North Carolina has already held its primary elections and campaigning for the November elections has begun in earnest. If the courts require another redrawing of the districts, they may also force new primaries. That might happen in November, with a final congressional election to be held early next year. The judges will rule on that soon.

Meanwhile, it’s likely that Republicans will also appeal this latest decision to the nation’s highest court. But with the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, that court is split 4-4 between Democratic and Republican appointees and a tie vote on the appeal seems likely. That would uphold the lower court’s decision and bring on redistricting and new elections.

As inconvenient as that may be, it’s exactly what we need. It’s time, once and for all, to end the kind of gerrymandering that has become the very antithesis of democracy. We’ve got to do better than this.

The Fayetteville Observer


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


July 21, 2019

“Send her back!”

The racist refrain, soft at first, crescendoed as the crowd at President Donald Trump’s “Keep America Great” rally on Wednesday in Greenville emphatically picked it up. On live television, sitting stage right of the President at East Carolina…


July 04, 2019

As the story goes, our Founding Fathers declared their independence from their mother country 243 years ago today, that the “united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown.”

It is a day that…

07-04-19 July 4th Flag2

June 10, 2019

As the election results became clear in 2016, financial markets rose amid a surge of economic optimism. That surge continued for two years as Donald Trump and Republicans pursued a pro-growth agenda of tax reform, deregulation and encouraging domestic energy production. But with Democrats now…

June 08, 2019

Keith Cox served the residents of Virginia Beach in the public utilities department for 12 years.

Well-liked by co-workers, he spent his final moments on Friday working to protect them from a gunman in the municipal center — sacrificing his life in the process.

The remembrance of Cox,…

APTOPIX Virginia Beach Shooting-6

June 04, 2019

Give Harry Smith credit for being willing to do his homework and change his mind.

Smith, the usually outspoken and politically conservative chairman of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, emerged from a recent board meeting and told reporters that his thinking about what to do…

Confederate Monuments-5

June 03, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence came to Charlotte this week for a 2020 Republican National Convention kickoff event. The visit was a reminder of the discomfort many feel in this progressive city about the 2020 RNC — an uneasiness so deep that Mayor Vi Lyles said last summer that she wouldn’t…

RNC Charlotte 2020-4

June 01, 2019

A state budget is a spending plan, but the proposal the state Senate’s Republican majority presented Tuesday is better described as an anti-spending plan. It is an unalloyed version of Senate leader Phil Berger’s iron-rule of government: Cut taxes and spend the absolute minimum. If…

State Of The State North Carolina-3

May 28, 2019

Around the turn of the last century, the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie paid to build 1,689 libraries across the United States. Many are still in use, celebrated as monumental works of philanthropy.

They should be seen as monuments to the failure of public policy. The United States could have built…

May 27, 2019

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community — or perhaps anyone who has lived in North Carolina the past decade — you were probably surprised to learn that Thom Tillis is a “pro-LGBTQ Republican.”

It’s true, according to the American Unity Fund, a conservative gay…

Border Security Tillis-2

May 25, 2019

Want to understand how the tariffs on China work? Don’t take President Donald Trump’s word for it.

Here’s what he’s had to say. We’ll follow with why he’s wrong, who really pays and who really suffers (hint, it’s not China or Trump).

First, from…

China Trade-2
38 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 4
        Next Page»   Last Page»