Outside the Box


Opinion Roundup: Calls for responsible, inclusive redistricting in N.C.

Posted May 23

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion and commentary on the Supreme Court's North Carolina redistricting ruling, the debate over Governor's School funding, a promising environmental cleanup effort and more.

GOP's craven attempt to block voting (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) -- The North Carolina law is a travesty, an ugly and divisive bid to cling to political power at the expense of the principles of equality, opportunity and access that should be the watchwords of government. But it’s further example that this crowd leading the General Assembly is not wielding power in a responsible or inclusive manner, a fact that further tarnishes the state’s reputation and demands a course correction at the earliest opportunity.

The Supreme Court strikes a blow against gerrymanders, but not a knockout punch (Los Angeles Times) -- On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed with a lower court that North Carolina legislators had improperly taken race into account when they redrew the lines of two congressional districts in a way that made it easier for Republican candidates to prevail in other districts in the state.

RICHARD HANSEN: Supreme Court may just have given voting rights activists a powerful new tool (Washington Post) -- Elena Kagan’s decision opens doors to fight gerrymandering in future cases.

Try fair redistricting (Greensboro News & Record) -- The U.S. Supreme Court made partisan gerrymandering a little harder in North Carolina Monday.

Another redistricting plan struck down (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday once again struck down North Carolina’s congressional district plan. The court’s ruling marks the fifth time it has had to ponder the fairness of District 12, in particular. One might think we’d learn something from that.

3 reasons to care about NC packing black voters together (Charlotte Observer) -- The U.S. Supreme Court struck down North Carolina’s racially gerrymandered congressional districts. Partisan gerrymandering may be next in the court’s sights.

Voting rights confusion (Wall Street Journal) -- State legislatures have been trying to figure out how much they can or should consider race when redrawing political districts and on Monday the Supreme Court increased the confusion. … the Court’s decision is most likely to guarantee more litigation by Democrats, who are happy to use the courts as a way to maximize the opportunities for Democratic candidates, and race as a sword for partisan purposes.

We need the Governor’s School (Winston-Salem Journal) -- In its budget proposal, the N.C. Senate has cut the $800,000 needed to run the state’s Governor’s School from next year’s budget. That would make this, its 55th year, also its last. This is a short-sighted mistake with long-term implications.

ALLISON BALLARD: Researchers work to rid oceans of plastic (Coastal Review column) -- Researchers at the University of North Carolina Wilmington are looking at aspects of plastics on our lives – they’re testing the burgeoning plastics-to-oil industry and learning more about how plastics work in the local ecosystem. Susan Brander, an assistant professor in the biology department and her students are looking at how plastics are ingested by the inland silverside, a small fish that feeds on zooplankton and is in turn prey for many birds and larger fish, such as the black sea bass.

An uneven approach to putting freedom back on the menu (Wilson Times) -- Need proof that the Old North State is awash in needless regulation? Look no further than the saga of Senate Bill 24 (Allow restaurants to use outdoor grills). SB 24 is a useful bill — and a popular one, given that both chambers of the N.C. General Assembly passed it unanimously. But its unfortunate necessity should remind us that nearly every aspect of our daily lives is subject to statutory oversight.


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