The Party Line

Now that we have reached the first 100 days of Governor McCrory’s administration (the mythical standard of time to pass judgment, based on FDR’s break-neck pace of New Deal legislating), some early thoughts on how the unified Republican state government, especially the state’s chief executive, is doing.

So now the briefs and oral arguments are filed in the same-sex marriage cases with the U.S. Supreme Court—now what?

As probably one of the least transparent institutions of our government, the court’s decision-making process is left solely to the nine members of the high court.  But we do know, from the research on judicial politics in political science, that this period between the court’s public arguments and the release of a decision (expected in late June) can be just as crucial as any public discussion.

As you may have heard by now, a joint resolution has been introduced into the North Carolina General Assembly that proclaims religious liberty, especially as it relates to a court case coming out of Rowan County. 

The resolution goes through a number of points, which all deserve some explanation; first, the resolution begins:

In their rather blunt assessment of the debacle that was the 2012 election, the Republican National Committee came to a simple conclusion. It can’t continue down the same path and remain politically relevant.

In his 18th century tour of the new American republic, Alexis de Tocqueville commented that most controversies eventually arrive in court. Over its history, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld de Tocqueville’s observation in key battles, both political and social. 

And the justices on the high court are preparing to confront a new set of controversies. 

In the Bible belt that is the South, the role of church and state are often intertwined in such a manner as to appear one in the same.  But when it comes to divorcing the Christian faith from government practices, you begin to see the truth in the expression “the devil made me do it.”

Typically, the South is the only region in the nation where a majority of voters describe themselves as either “born-again” or “Evangelical Christians” in the exit polls.

With the GOP-led NC General Assembly beginning a “deliberative” consideration of requiring photo identification when voting, the heated rhetoric on both sides has only inflamed the passions of both supporters and opponents to Voter ID laws.

Anecdotal examples of people claiming to have voted multiple times are charged by one side, while the other side decrying the proposed legislation with charges of “we will fight them in the streets.”

For those who have seen the American classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” the lead-up to Sen. Jefferson Smith’s talk-a-thon is the classic image of a filibuster.  And while historically filibusters have been rare, Sen. Rand Paul made history with his nearly 13-hour speech, cracking the top 10 longest filibusters in U.S. Senate history.

While congressional leadership and President Obama unveiled a statue of civil rights advocate Rosa Parks last week, the U.S. Supreme Court debated one of the landmark laws that culminated the modern civil rights movement for black Americans: the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

In oral arguments, Chief Justice John Roberts posed the question to the government’s top Supreme Court lawyer: Does the Obama administration think “the citizens in the South are more racist than citizens in the North?” 

With the release of the provocative and no holds barred “NC 2013 Legislative Strategy” memo as reported by The Charlotte Observer, liberal advocacy groups are finally learning the lessons that conservative groups have been teaching them for some time: Be prepared to play the same game and have a playbook.

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