November Elections Bring Important Changes to Criminal Justice & Immigration Issues in North Carolina
November 6 brought a number of important changes around the country when it comes to civil rights and criminal justice issues, and North Carolina was no exception, as we discuss below:
Civil Rights & Criminal Justice Advocate Elected to North Carolina Supreme Court
In November, Anita Earls—founder of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and former Department of Justice Deputy Assistant Attorney General—won a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court. Her running platform included concerns that the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court would no longer be reliable in terms of protection of civil rights on a national scale and that North Carolina regularly engaged in continuous attempts to curb the state judiciary’s independence.
Earls also has a track record of beating back assaults on voting rights. She was behind the major case in 2016 that led the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to decide that North Carolina had specifically targeted African Americans in voter suppression efforts. Her win gives the state’s high court a five-to-two Democratic majority.
Changes to Congress Will Prompt New Civil Rights & Liberties Agenda
Republicans also lost their super-majorities in the legislature, which means that they will not be able to override vetoes made by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. In addition, voters in Wake County, North Carolina stood up against the administration’s strict deportation and detention forces earlier this month.
The unprecedented wave of victories for a number of legislators on November 6 will undoubtedly have a strong impact on important civil rights issues including immigration, voting rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and criminal justice; to name a few. The 116th Congress will need to push for cuts to the Department of Homeland Security’s budget in an effort to defund agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection in order to stop criminalizing and denying due process protections to immigrants. Instead, elected officials should hold investigations and hearings into crises such as detention abuses, entanglement of federal immigration and local law enforcement, and family separation, as well as instituting permanent protections for long-time U.S. residents.
Congress will also need to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act and Voter Empowerment Act in order to work towards defeating racial discrimination in voting and making voting for everyone much easier, and work towards equal pay and protection against discrimination and sexual harassment for women in the workplace. Many steps also need to be taken in order to ensure that LGBTQ individuals are protected under the Civil Rights Act and the county implements sentencing and prison reform measures in order to reduce mass incarceration in our prisons.
Jeff Sessions Deals Blow To Oversight of Police Abuse & Corruption before Exiting
Before existing as federal Attorney General, Jeff Sessions issued a final memo which highlights rules and restrictions for limiting federal oversight of police forces and other state and local entities accused of abuse and unconstitutional conduct, as well as violating other civil rights and criminal justice issues.
Contact Experienced North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been wrongfully targeted and/or had your civil rights violated due to criminal charges, contact the experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorneys at Dysart Willis today for a free consultation.