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UPDATING: North Carolina Governor Issues Executive Order in Response to Anti-LGBT Law Backlash

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In Video Accompanying Executive Order GOP Governor Calls Charlotte Nondiscrimination Law ‘Solution in Search of a Problem’ 

Embattled GOP Gov. Pat McCrory has just issued an executive order that appears to override a small portion of HB2, his sweeping, broad, unconstitutional law that voided all local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances and banned transgender people from using public restrooms that conform to their gender identity.

NCRM will update this story below with reactions from legal experts as they become available.

Executive Order 93 does not change the ban on transgender people using public restrooms based on gender identity. But it states it will add sexual orientation and gender identity protections to the state’s employment policy for state employees. It also says it will seek “legislation to reinstate the right to sue in state court for discrimination.” That was taken away when he signed HB2 into law.

In the video accompanying his executive order, Gov. McCrory remains steadfast in his opposition to Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance, which was voided by HB2. He called it a “solution in search of a problem,” ensuring he will stand in the doorway to continue to ban transgender people from accessing basic civil rights.

The executive order does not even mention the other sweeping changes HB2 ushered in, including stripping local control over minimum wage laws  and employment discrimination laws.

Here is the video and below, the transcript:

“Hi, I’m North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.

North Carolina proudly welcomes all people to live, work and visit our great state.

We didn’t become the ninth most populous state in the nation by accident. We have long held traditions of both ensuring equality for all of our citizens and our visitors, while also respecting the privacy of everyone.

We are also a state that strives to allow our people and businesses to be as independent as possible without overreaching government regulations.

These North Carolina values of privacy and equality came into conflict recently when the Charlotte City Council passed a new mandate that forced on businesses a city-wide ordinance of bathroom and locker room regulations, something frankly we had never seen or had before in that great city or in North Carolina.

Simply put, this government overreach was a solution in search of a problem.

In fact, the Charlotte City Council rejected this proposal less than a year ago.

In a letter prior to the most recent vote, I notified the Charlotte City Council that this unnecessary and intrusive mandate conflicts with basic expectations of privacy in the most private of settings.

Therefore, as I expected, the state took action on what was seen as government overreach.

You know, after listening to people’s feedback for the past several weeks on this issue, I have come to the conclusion that there is a great deal of misinformation, misinterpretation, confusion, a lot of passion and frankly, selective outrage and hypocrisy, especially against the great state of North Carolina.

But based upon this feedback, I am taking action to affirm and improve the state’s commitment to privacy and equality.

To that end, today I have signed an executive order with the goal of achieving that fine balance.

This executive order accomplishes the following:

First, it maintains common sense gender-specific restroom and locker room facilities in government buildings and in our schools, and when possible, encourages reasonable accommodations for families and those who have unique or special circumstances.

Second, the private sector can make its own policy with regard to restrooms, locker rooms and/or shower facilities. This is not a government decision. This is your decision in the private sector.

Third, I have affirmed the private sector and local government’s right to establish its own non-discrimination employment policies.

And fourth, as governor, I have expanded our state equal employment opportunity policy to clarify that sexual orientation and gender identity are included.

And fifth, I will immediately seek legislation in the upcoming short session to reinstate the right to sue for discrimination in North Carolina state courts.

Simply put, I have listened to the people of North Carolina, and the people of North Carolina are entitled to both privacy and equality. We can and we must achieve both of these goals.

Now I know these actions will not totally satisfy everyone, but the vast majority of our citizens want common sense solutions to complex issues.

This is the North Carolina way.

Thank you very much, and may God continue to bless the great state of North Carolina.

UPDATE I: 3:00 PM EDT –
Buzzfeed Legal Editor Chris Geidner weighs in via Twitter:

UPDATE II: 3:03 PM EDT –
For those who want to read the actual, full legal text:

UPDATE III: 3:10 PM EDT –
Kate Kendall, head of National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization, calls it “a cynical political move.”

UPDATE IV: 3:16 PM EDT –

ACLU of North Carolina Acting Executive Director Sarah Preston:
 
“Gov. McCrory’s actions today are a poor effort to save face after his sweeping attacks on the LGBT community, and they fall far short of correcting the damage done when he signed into law the harmful House Bill 2, which stigmatizes and mandates discrimination against gay and transgender people. With this executive order, LGBT individuals still lack legal protections from discrimination, and transgender people are still explicitly targeted by being forced to use the wrong restroom.”

There’s a good deal more on their website.

ACLU National isn’t quite as generous as their local NC affiliate:

ACLU attorney and expert on HB2: 

UPDATE V: 3:33 PM EDT –
Some other opinions:

UPDATE VI: 8:08 PM EDT –

Group of US Senators Asks NBA Commissioner to Move All Star Game Out of North Carolina

 

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

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OPINION

‘This Is for the People to Decide’: Jaw-Dropping CNN Supercut Lays Bare the GOP’s Stunning Hypocrisy on SCOTUS

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As the battle over replacing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — who died Friday from complications of pancreatic cancer — takes shape in Washington, D.C., Republican senators who previously refused to hold a vote on former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick are now having their words thrown in their faces.

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper on Saturday played a devastating supercut that features Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) explaining why they would not vote on Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.

“I want you to use my words against me,” Graham said in 2016 — laying out what Cooper described as an “eerily similar” situation as the one currently playing out in Congress. “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say, ‘Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination,’ and you could use my words against me and you would be absolutely right.”

“We’re setting a precedent here today, Republicans are, that in the last year, at least of a lame duck eight-year term, I would say it’s going to be a four-year term, that you’re not going to fill a vacancy of the Supreme Court based on what we’re doing here today,” he added. “That’s going to be the new rule.”

In his own floor speech on the matter in 2016, McConnell likewise urged Congress to give the American people a say in the Supreme Court pick.

“The next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country. So, of course, of course the American people should have a say in the court’s direction,” McConnell said.

Cruz — who was shortlisted by Trump as a potential SCOTUS pick earlier this month — also insisted in 2016 that Congress should not move to replace Scalia until after the election.

“I don’t think we should be moving forward on a nominee in the last year of this president’s term, Cruz said. “I would say that if it was a republican president.”

“President Obama is eager to appoint Justice Scalia’s replacement this year,” he continued. “But do you know in the last 80 years we have not once has the Senate confirmed a nomination made in an election year and now is no year to start. This is for the people to decide. I intend to make 2016 a referendum on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Of course, all three men have now signaled they’re much more likely in 2020 to jam a conservative Supreme Court justice down voters’ throats on the eve of an election. After President Donald Trump on Saturday tweeted that the Senate has an “obligation” select a replacement for Ginsburg, Graham said he “fully” understands where the president is coming from.

In case that statement seems vague, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman added: ”I will support President [Trump] in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”

And McConnell has also insisted “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

And in perhaps the least surprising flip-flop of all, Cruz on Saturday wrote an opinion piece for Fox News that outlined 3 reasons why the Senate must confirm Ginsburg’s replacement before election day. In it, he touted Trump’s “list of extremely qualified, principled constitutionalists who could serve on the Supreme Court” — which, of course, included himself — and argued that going into an election with an 8 person bench could trigger a constitutional crisis in the event of a contested election.

Amazing how now of the senators were concerned with such a problem when Obama appointed his nominee.

Watch the video below to see the blatant hypocrisy for yourself:

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISTS

‘You Don’t See Any Hypocrisy?’ Chris Wallace Filets Tom Cotton by Replaying His Merrick Garland Speech

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Fox News host Chris Wallace accused Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) of hypocrisy on Sunday after he vowed to push forward with a vote to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in an election year.

“Why the rush to judgement?” Wallace asked Cotton after the senator promised a swift vote on President Donald Trump’s eventual nominee.

“We’re not going to rush,” Cotton insisted. “We not going to skip steps. We’re going to move forward without delay.”

Wallace reminded Cotton that President Barack Obama named Judge Merrick Garland as his nominee after Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016.

“Senate Republicans blocked the choice of Garland,” Wallace noted before playing a clip of Cotton defending the move at the time.

In the clip, Cotton notes that the country will have a new president “in a few short months.”

“Why would we cut off the national debate about this next justice?” Cotton says in the clip. “Why would we squelch the voice of the people, why would we deny the voters a chance to weigh in on the make up of the Supreme Court?”

Wallace continued following the clip: “Garland was nominated nine months before the election and you were saying then, nine months before the election, it was wrong to deny voters a chance to weigh in. So if it was wrong then nine months before the election, why is it OK now six weeks before the election?”

For his part, Cotton argued that Republicans won the Senate in 2014 to stop President Barack Obama’s judicial nominations, and then he claimed that the current Republican Senate is in power to uphold nominations by President Donald Trump.

“You really don’t think there is any hypocrisy at all,” Wallace pressed, “in saying, we need to give voters — because you can parse the 2014 election, the 2018 election any way you want — but you stated a pretty firm principle in 2016 about Merrick Garland: It’s wrong to deny voters a chance to weigh in.”

“You don’t see any hypocrisy between that position then and this position now?” the Fox News host wondered.

“Chris, the Senate majority is performing our constitutional duty and fulfilling the mandate that the voters gave us,” Cotton opined.

Watch the video below from Fox News.

 

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News

Trump Says He Will Make SCOTUS Nomination Next Week – Appears He Will Use Seat to Strengthen Where He Is Weak in Polls

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President Donald Trump says he will announce his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “next week.”

He made clear his primary deciding factors will be to help him in the polls.

Trump told reporters Saturday afternoon “most likely” he will choose a woman.

CNN reports he is leaning towards choosing a woman mostly because he is doing poorly in the polls with women.

Trump spoke about two women judges. He talked about Barbara Lagoa, noting she is Hispanic and from Florida. He is struggling in the polls with Hispanics and in Florida.

Reporters also asked about Amy Coney Barrett, a far right wing anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ extremist. Trump spoke positively about her as well. Reports say she is the current frontrunner.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

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