Voting Rights Victory in the 4th Circuit Court

Court of Appeals Rejects Governor McCrory’s Efforts to Suppress the Right to Vote for Minority and Other Voters in North Carolina; Permanently Blocks Voter ID and Other Extremist Tactics to Keep Black and Brown Voters from Exercising the Right to Vote

- A Statement from the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP -

WASHINGTON – The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled that unconstitutional racial intent motivated North Carolina's 2013 voter suppression law and ordered that the law's elimination of same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting, and pre-registration, the imposition of an onerous photo ID requirement and the reduction of early voting be permanently enjoined. The three-judge appellate panel reversed the district court and ruled in favor of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters and other individual plaintiffs who filed suit on the day the law was signed and have fought tirelessly to expose the unconstitutional intent and effect of this law and block its implementation. The NC NAACP group of plaintiffs is represented by attorneys Penda D. Hair, Caitlin Swain, Adam Stein and Irving Joyner as well as the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

“We are happy today that the 4th Circuit’s Court of Appeals' decision exposed the racist intent of the extremist element of our government in North Carolina," said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. "In 2013, this government took our voting system — which was a model for the nation in encouraging people to vote, not discouraging them — and they made it into the worst voter suppression act in the country. Today the 4th Circuit’s decision gives North Carolinians back an electoral system that allows the people of North Carolina to vote freely this fall."

"The Circuit Court’s ruling today is a people’s victory and a victory that sends a message to the nation,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. “The court found— under the sensitive inquiry required by law -- that how the law was enacted and its impact made crystal clear that discriminatory intent impermissibly motivated this General Assembly. Under our constitution, and under the core principles and dictates of the Voting Rights Act, these provisions have no legitimacy under the law."

“Based on the ruling today," Barber explained, "North Carolina voters will not have to show a discriminatorily motived voter ID in the state of North Carolina in November or in any future election. North Carolinians will enjoy the full scope of early voting opportunities previously available, and will not be denied needed safeguards to protect the ability to exercise the right to vote including the option of same day registration. We know that this decision is a step closer to a freer, fairer electoral system in our state and in the nation. It is our duty to continue this fight until barriers based on race are swept away as ancient history.”

  “The Court’s decision reinforces that race-based decision-making in the electoral system will not stand,” said Penda D. Hair, lead attorney for the NC NAACP. “We know that voters of color rely most heavily on these voting measures, and that, without this decision, they would have borne the brunt of the burden this November. Today’s decision is the culmination of a long and grueling fight to fully restore the rights of North Carolina voters and renew the integrity of democracy in the state. We believe the plaintiffs' fight for justice received vindication today.”


The Immoral and Misleading Politics Hidden Beneath the Surface of House Bill 2

The NC NAACP and Forward Together Moral Movement will continue exposing what extremist legislators have politically promoted as the "gay and transsexual restroom bill" - also known as House Bill 2.

The legislation has very little to do with restrooms and much to do with our need to prevent this immoral attempt to legislate a wide array of unconstitutional discrimination and hatred which we find when we read the fine print beneath these homophobic scare tactics. 

The NC NAACP and the Forward Together Moral Movement stands in solidarity with civil rights leaders, labor leaders and hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians who are organizing and taking action in various areas of the state against House Bill 2.  We refer to it more appropriately as "Hate Bill 2." 

It is sad that certain so called Christian leaders are supporting this bill and participating in this political ploy.  Jesus made his primary focus caring for the poor, the sick and least of these.  Where are these leaders when health care, living wages, and voting rights are being denied and public education is being undercut? They are strangely silent. 

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US Supreme Court Blocks Racially Gerrymandered Redistricting Plan

March 26, 2016

Yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court opinion in the Alabama redistricting case supports the argument that the North Carolina State Conference of Branches of the NAACP has been making against North Carolina’s racially gerrymandered districts since they were first proposed in 2011. The Court held that packing black voters to meet a specific racial quota is constitutionally suspect, as was done in Alabama and in North Carolina. The Court remanded the case to the lower court for application of strict scrutiny. “The principles of law announced by the Court yesterday apply with equal force to North Carolina, mandating a reversal of the redistricting plans adopted here,” said Reverend Dr. William J. Barber, II. 

When the North Carolina redistricting proposal was introduced and enacted, the NC NAACP, through its lawyers and partners, provided legislators with legal opinions which track yesterday's Supreme Court decision. "As a result, they knew or should have known that their redistricting proposal violated the Voting Rights Act and the federal constitution," said Irving Joyner, NC NAACP Legal Redress Chair and Professor at NCCU School of Law. "Despite this information, these legislators chose to ignore the law, as it existed at that point, for the sole purpose of undermining the political voice of African-Americans and other racial minorities. Their redistricting plans, which involved the State Senate, House of Representatives, and Congress, were a part of the same national political agenda and strategy which extremist legislators have sought to impose in other States as occurred in North Carolina and Alabama. The imposition of this extremist agenda has resulted in the illegal elections of legislative officials who have eagerly sought to impose other extremists political policies upon North Carolina citizens. The NC NAACP will continue to fight against these actions in the courts, the legislative parlors and in the streets."

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The NC NAACP Stands Against Hypocrisy and Immorality of the NCGA Made Clear by the Passage of HB2

The constitutional rights of North Carolinians to equal protection under the law in the state and federal constitutions are under attack. 

An estimated 7 people die preventable deaths daily in North Carolina, including veterans, healthcare workers and other working poor people, because the NC General Assembly did not pass Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Tens of thousands of voters have been disenfranchised or burdened by voter suppression laws and the inconsistent implementation of them across the state. 

Hundreds of thousands of working poor North Carolinians are locked into poverty by a minimum wage that doesn't allow them to feed their families and care for their loved ones.

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Open Letter: "The Prosecutor Ought to Be a Minister of Justice; Not Merely Seek Convictions.”

March 24, 2016
 
Attorney General Roy Cooper
Hand-Delivered
Old Education Building
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001
 
Dear Attorney General Cooper:
                                                                                                                                
Today, Maundy Thursday, is a day in the Christian Tradition associated with repentance.  It commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus, just before he was betrayed, wrongfully arrested and prosecuted, and then executed. This horrific act of injustice led to Easter morning, when hundreds of millions of people celebrate the reversal of the wrongful conviction and the resurrection of the innocent Jesus.
 
So it is fitting and proper that today we call on your office to do justice in the cases of Dontae Sharpe and Kalvin Michael Smith, two men who have spent over half their lives imprisoned unjustly.  It is in the power of the Office of the Attorney General to show leadership in these cases.  As officers of the court, you and your staff have the ethical responsibility of ministers of justice and not simply that of an advocate; your duty is to seek justice, not merely to convict.
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Call to Grieve | Call to Action

On Christmas Day, December 25, 2015, one year old Maleah Williams was killed during a drive-by shooting in Chapel Hill. The Chapel Hill NAACP & Ministerial Alliance are holding an Emancipation Day Service in her honor on January 1st at 1:00pm at St. Joseph CME Church, 510 W. Rosemary St., Chapel Hill.

 

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II
December 30, 2015

In the hour of our deepest need, OUR children die so needlessly.  There is a prophetic mourning that demands that we be neither comfortable nor cynical in the face of violent death. They are our children, whether it is a baby shot amid a senseless crime in Chapel Hill or a child shot in 2 seconds by a trigger happy cop in Cleveland. We must mourn over it and stand against it. Pope Francis in his Laudato Si, challenged each of us "to become painfully aware; to dare to turn what is happening in the world into our own personal suffering; and thus to discover what each of us can do about it."  So today we mourn.  Tomorrow we work to transform crucifixion into resurrection; to become what the prophet Isaiah calls "repairers of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.

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Oppose Senate Bill 279!

Abolishing Local Liberty Bills...Just Another Regressive Setback to the Progress Made in the Battle Against Discrimination
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II

Senate Bill 279 was introduced in the late hours of Monday night. It is being considered in the Legislature today. Click here to call or send an email to Senate Leader Berger and Speaker Moore to let them know you oppose SB 279, "Restricting Municipalities from Protecting All People"

September 29, 2015
Raleigh, NC

Regression seems to be the only familiar ideal for this general assembly.  In the last 48 hours, this general assembly has engaged in three last minute sneak attacks against the people of the state of North Carolina:  HB 318, the anti-immigration bill; HB 539, the charter school funding bill, and the most recent SB 279 anti-LGBT bill. This last bill could prevent local governments from protecting individuals against discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity in public accommodations and fair housing. 

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Rev. Barber's Address to Moral Action on Climate Change Rally

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

September 24, 2015

Washington, D.C.

Note: These were the fully scheduled remarks but were shortened due to time restraints in advance of the Pope Francis' speech

We gather here today as one human family to raise our moral voices and to welcome Pope Francis and his message that true faith is not a disengagement from the challenges of the world but an embrace of those very challenges.

Truth is, there is no gospel that is not social; no gospel that relieves us of our call to love our neighbors as ourselves; no gospel that lives outside God’s admonition to serve the least of these. Pope Francis has made this clear, and for that we thank him.

In this history of the United States, a moral critique has been always been at the center of any challenge to the structural sins of society—slavery, the denial of women’s rights, the denial of labor rights, the denial of equal protection under the law, the denial of voting rights, and the promulgation of unchecked militarism. We have never overcome any of these evils without a moral critique that challenged their grip on the heart and imagination of our society.

A moral critique is still needed today.

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North Carolina's Journey For Justice

Statement by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II at America's Journey For Justice News Conference in Raleigh, NC on August 18, 2015.

Let me first thank Rep. Mickey Michaux who is here with us this morning. During the trial in Winston Salem, Rep Michaux was more than brilliant in his telling of the story of voting rights in this country. He along with Ms. Rosa Nell Eaton were featured recently in a major article published by the NY Times on the “Undoing of America.”

This morning, let me also honor the memory and legacy of Mr. Julian Bond. He was the Fredrick Douglass of our times, who said, ‘those who say race is history have it wrong, history is race.” He also told us in a speech last year that, “those who want us to believe that 250 years of slavery and 100 years of jim crow have all been wiped out by 50 years of reluctant and modest implementation of laws to address historic and unprecedented racism are sadly mistaken.” He was a deep and passionate supporter of the Forward Together Movement from the very beginning.

Mr. Bond was a founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. which led the effort to inaugurate freedom summer. Freedom summer led the organization to Selma, and on August 6, 1965, 50 years and 12 days ago, the events of freedom summer lead to the passage of the voting rights act.

It is on the foundation of this history and the extreme regressivism we are seeing today that I, along with the national board and president of the NAACP, Attorney Cornelle Brooks, are engaging in an 880 mile journey for justice declaring that our votes, our lives, our schools, and our jobs matter.

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Symbols of Pro Slavery

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II: "Today, the General Assembly is more committed to protecting monuments -- symbols of a pro-slavery, white supremacist, segregationist past -- than they are to protecting people who are living right now."

DURHAM, NC - Last night, Gov. Pat McCrory signed the "Historic Artifact Management and Patriotism Act," which prevents local officials from removing Confederate monuments and gives that authority to the North Carolina General Assembly and Governor. 

This morning, the NC NAACP and Forward Together Moral Movement challenged Gov. McCrory and the General Assembly's decision to prioritize the protection of Confederate monuments over the protection of North Carolinians. NC NAACP President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II's statement is below: 

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