Judge rules lawmakers' emails subject to subpeona

Posted May 15, 2014

— A federal trial judge has declined to side with North Carolina lawmakers who believe they are entitled to ignore subpoenas seeking documents about election changes that are being challenged in court.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder upheld Thursday the earlier decision of a magistrate judge who told legislators they didn't have broad immunity from the document demands by those suing over the 2013 elections law.

Schroeder wrote that, while state legislators have such immunity from civil lawsuits and testifying about legislative activity, he can't say that privilege from document requests is absolute.

The ruling comes as civil rights groups and voters have sued because they say several provisions of the law, including eliminating a week of early voting and same-day registration and prohibiting out-of-precinct voting, are discriminatory. They want to block the law's use in the November elections while the suit continues.

"This ruling means lawmakers will no longer be allowed to hide behind a veil of secrecy," Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, said in a statement. "If politicians are going to tamper with people’s fundamental right to vote, we deserve to know why."

"This decision will help the court get a fuller picture of why the voting changes at stake are so detrimental to North Carolina voters," Allison Riggs, an attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, said in a statement.


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  • dahill001 May 19, 2014

    All the proponents of the voting law are strangely quiet in this comment section...

  • miseem May 16, 2014

    I guess they need to start using the telephone. Or start meeting in smoke filled back rooms. Be appropriate, since they are retro in most of the other ideologies they espouse.

  • rduwxboy May 16, 2014

    Who wants to guess that many of these emails will reveal that many of these lawmakers have a crisp white robe and hood hanging in their office for evening attire

  • Benjamin Wright May 16, 2014
    user avatar

    What happened to McCrory's promise of open government?

  • Grand Union May 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    and waste more taxpayers money in the process.

  • 12345_here May 16, 2014

    This should be fun.

    Can't wait to see how many Faux Pa's there are in these email chains.

    The knife will cut both ways, so all public officials should be careful going forward.

  • Forthe Newssite May 16, 2014
    user avatar

    If they use a work computer for these emails then they should be public record. I'm pretty sick and tired of shady lawmakers cherry picking parts of the law to apply to them.

    Get rid of all of them, open their true feelings/thoughts to the public then we'll see

  • archmaker May 16, 2014

    While I believe that public officials emails should be part of the public records, I have no doubt that this will encourage the shady practice of public officials using personal email accounts to conduct public business that they don't want anyone to find out about.

    Remember - Sara Palin™ did this and the only person who got in trouble was the kid who hacked her email and exposed the truth.

  • Norm Samuelson May 16, 2014
    user avatar

    Maybe the truth really will come out. The Reps are out to control and manipulate the electorate.

  • Olenc Native May 16, 2014
    user avatar

    Get 'em. Expose that legislation for what it is: voter disenfranchisement.