Judge: No quick trial on NC voting law changes
Dec. 13, 2013
A federal judge has ruled there will be no trial on North Carolina's Republican-backed voting law changes until after the 2014 elections, though she signaled motions will be considered to bar the measures from taking effect until the case is resolved.
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A federal judge was set to hear arguments Thursday over whether a trial on the legality of recent Republican-backed changes to North Carolina's voting laws should be held before or after the November 2014 election.
What happens when courts are overloaded with cases, when the technology system that supports those courts is woefully outdated and when judges, rather than get adequate funding from the state, have to go to counties for money?
Since 1971, the North Carolina Felony Firearms Act, G.S. § 14-415.1 et seq, has generally banned felons from owning or possessing firearms. But the Act, its applicability and constitutionality are far from settled. The General Assembly has amended the Act several times over the years to further restrict felons’ firearms rights. But more recently it altered this course, responding to new constitutional standards articulated by the North Carolina Supreme Court in Britt v. State, by amending the Act to provide for a firearms rights restoration process. 363 N.C. 546 (2009). This paper explains the major provisions of the Felony Firearms Act, particularly firearms rights restoration, in light of Britt and the decision of the Court of Appeals in Baysden v. State. ___ N.C. App. ___, 718 S.E.2d 699 (2011).
As lawsuits attacking North Carolina’s voting and election law reforms proceed through the courts, opponents of such reforms will argue that various provisions of the new law are unconstitutional. The voter photo identification argument appears to have attracted the most attention and the lawsuits have raised some concerns about the constitutionality of voter ID requirements. These concerns will be addressed and dispelled by analyzing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Crawford v. Marion County Election Bd., 553 U.S. 181 (2008), a case challenging Indiana’s Voter-ID law. To date, this is the only Voter-ID case that the Supreme Court has considered (however, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Arizona’s Voter-ID law on March 18, 2013). In a 6-3 decision, the Court refused to strike down Indiana’s Voter-ID law.
This quick reference guide summarizes the North Carolina Felony Firearms Act, its applicability, relevant exceptions, firearm restoration rights, and important court cases dealing with the Act’s constitutionality