Monday, February 24, 2014

Court Decisions on Its Litigation Efforts, the NC NAACP to Hold News Conference to Expose Discriminatory Impact of Vouchers and Voter Suppression Law

February 24, 2014

After Major Court Decisions on Its Litigation Efforts, the NC NAACP to Hold News Conference to Expose Discriminatory Impact of Vouchers and Voter Suppression Law 

North Carolina NAACP offices

DURHAM - The North Carolina NAACP will host a press conference tomorrow at its Durham offices to discuss major court decisions on the state's school voucher program and voter suppression law and to explore how they expose the discriminatory policies of Gov. Pat McCrory, Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate Leader Phil Berger, Budget Director Art Pope and the other Tea Party extremists in the General Assembly.

In a great victory for public education supporters, a veteran Wake County judge issued a temporary injunction on February 21 stopping efforts by extremists to undermine North Carolina's public schools by diverting $11.7 million from the general school fund into a voucher program that would send taxpayer money to any of the state's 700 private schools.

Also on February 21, a federal judge in Winston-Salem raised serious questions about the defense's attempts to claim immunity for state legislators in the NC NAACP's challenge to the recent voter suppression law. The defense is fighting to keep secret its communications and agreements with national extremist groups who are financing efforts at the state level to suppress African-American and low-income voters.

Led by Denise Lieberman, the Advancement Project legal team - which is representing the NC NAACP in this suit - argued that, especially in the area of voting rights, legislators and public officials do not have immunity from having to explain their actions in court. Magistrate Joi Peake took the issue of legislator immunity under advisement and committed to a serious study of case law before rendering her decision. She also set a clear deadline for the discovery process and told the defendants to start turning over evidence, making it clear that the state could not keep dragging its heels on the NC NAACP's challenge.

The defense attorneys representing the North Carolina state government in these challenges continue to argue that these programs are meant to help children and people of color, even though the empirical evidence demonstrates otherwise. At Tuesday's conference, the discrimination that will result from these new laws will be addressed by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the NC NAACP, and Elizabeth Haddix, an attorney with the UNC Center for Civil Rights who is representing the NC NAACP in its voucher challenge.

Co-plaintiff attorney Jessica Holmes from the North Carolina Association of Educators will also be speaking on the temporary injunction granted by Judge Robert H. Hobgood on February, 21 and the future prospects for the voucher suit.

The NC NAACP's friend of the court brief in the voucher suit can be accessed here.

MORE INFORMATION: Atty. Jamie Phillips Cole, Public Policy Coordinator,919.682.4700 
Sarah Bufkin, Media Coordinator, 404.285.3413


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