With monsoon-like conditions in part of the country and record-breaking heat in others, weather manipulation strikes me as a pretty sweet superpower to have these days.
But we can’t all be Storm, so while we’re stuck enduring the weather-hand we’ve been dealt, let’s take a gander at what’s going on around the country in non-climate-related news.
DomiNOPE: A few weeks ago in this space, I wrote about GOP lawmakers in North Carolina pushing a constitutional amendment that would effectively allow Republicans to pack the state Supreme court.
To refresh your recollection:
- As June drew to a close, the GOP-controlled legislature voted to place an amendment on the ballot this fall that would give the legislature control over the candidates the governor can choose from if there’s a judicial vacancy.
Sounds innocent enough, yes?
- If Democrat Anita Earls loses her race for the state Supreme Court this fall, the court will have a 4-3 Democratic majority.
Not so much.
- The GOP-controlled legislature can then simply vote with their veto-proof majorities to add two seats to the court.
- Then the legislature’s new sham commission would be able to send Cooper a list with nothing but hardcore partisan Republican names to fill those new vacancies they just created, opening the door to a 5-4 GOP majority.
- Other constitutional amendments slated to appear on North Carolina ballots this fall include:
- Requiring voters to present a photo ID to cast ballots.
- Giving the legislature (read: Republicans) the ability to choose members of the State Board of Ethics and Elections enforcement, taking that power away from the governor and preventing the Democrat currently occupying the office from appointing a Democratic majority to the board.
- Republicans also passed legislation specifically designed to impact the 2018 elections by allowing any candidate running for office to change his or her party affiliation right up to the time they officially file as a candidate.
- Democrats protested the move, saying it could lead to shenanigans.
- And then North Carolina Republicans’ luck ran out.
- Just before the filing deadline, a third candidate got into the state Supreme Court race, which had previously just had one Democrat—Anita Earls—and one Republican—Barbara Jackson—running.
- That candidate—Raleigh attorney Chris Anglin—filed to run as a Republican, sparking GOP fears that he’d siphon votes away from Jackson, splitting the party’s vote and easing Earls’ path to the bench.
- Until June 7 of this year, this fresh Republican face in the race was a registered Democrat.
- The state Republican Party has vowed to treat Anglin as “the enemy he is.” Both Anglin and state Democrats aver that no shenanigans are afoot here; rather, Anglin is just a concerned citizen who wanted to run as a “constitutional Republican” … whatever that means.
- GOP lawmakers went further in their response to his candidacy: The state Senate majority leader filed a fun ex post facto bill this week that would prevent Anglin from being listed on the ballot as a Republican.
- While Anglin isn’t mentioned by name in the bill, it applies only to judicial elections, and it states:
The party information listed by each of the following candidates’ names is shown only if the candidates’ party affiliation or unaffiliated status is the same as on their voter registration at the time they filed to run for office and 90 days prior to that filing.
- The bill passed along party lines, and, though Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is likely to veto it, Republicans’ veto-proof majorities are sure to overturn any attempt to block it.
- When it becomes law, this measure is virtually certain to be challenged in the courts.
I mean, changing the rules in the middle of an election?
Even for North Carolina Republicans, who are already legendary for their shameless and breathtaking attacks on democracy in their state, this is … brazen.
- But while getting folks to say on camera that they support giving guns to preschoolers via a “Kinderguardians” program is both darkly funny and extraordinarily sad, that stunt manages to pale somewhat next to the “ridiculously ugly episode” perpetrated by Georgia Republican state Rep. Jason Spencer.
- SBC, disguised as an Israeli military expert, convinced the GOPer to say some seriously racist things about Chinese tourists, scream the n-word repeatedly, scream homophobic and racist slurs, and show his bare ass—all on camera (watch this segment of his appearance, if you dare).
- Spencer, who pushed legislation in 2016 banning women from wearing burqas on public property, claims he fell for Cohen’s stunt because the comedian “took advantage of [his] fears that I would be attacked by someone.”
- After the “Who Is America?” segment aired, Spencer faced immediate calls to resign—despite the fact that he’d already lost his primary election and would be out of the legislature come January, anyway.
- But Spencer had good reason to try to hang on.
- By January, he would have hit the magic eight-year mark as a state lawmaker, which would have made him eligible for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for the rest of his life.
- Oh late Tuesday night, however, the House speaker’s office announced that Spencer would be resigning his seat in the legislature, effective at the end of the month.
Sign up to get This Week in Statehouse Action delivered hot and fresh to your inbox each week here.