After the laws come the lawsuits

cjarvis@newsobserver.comMay 10, 2014 

The laws that come out of legislative sessions are prone to challenges in court. Here are the major lawsuits still pending:

ABORTION In January, a federal judge in Greensboro struck down the narrated ultrasound requirement provision in an abortion-regulation bill the legislature passed last year. The attorney general has appealed the ruling.

REDISTRICTING A three-judge panel upheld the GOP-drawn state and congressional district maps, and that ruling is on appeal to the state Supreme Court.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Three lawsuits have been filed in federal court challenging the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that voters approved in May 2012 after the General Assembly put the amendment on the ballot. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court in Virginia hears arguments on a similar law in that state. Its decision could determine the fate of North Carolina’s law as well.

TEACHER TENURE School systems in Guilford and Durham counties sued the state over a new law that mandates raises to teachers who give up tenure. Special Superior Court Judge Richard Doughton on Friday signed a written order granting the two school systems a preliminary injunction relieving them from having to offer the state contracts. The office of Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger plans to appeal.

There has been no ruling on a separate tenure lawsuit filed by the N.C. Association of Educators in December.

VOUCHERS A Superior Court judge in February halted a program that gave up to $4,200 in taxpayer money to qualified students to pay for private-school tuition. The law was challenged by the N.C. School Boards Association and state residents, backed by the N.C. Justice Center and the N.C. Association of Educators. In April, the N.C. Court of Appeals rejected requests to lift a lower court’s injunction.

ELECTION LAW The U.S. Department of Justice, the NAACP and the League of Women Voters are suing to stop sections of the state’s elections law, including requiring a photo ID, reducing early voting days and ending same-day registration. So far, a U.S. magistrate judge has ruled that legislative leaders must turn over some of their correspondence about the law to voters and organizations challenging it.

Jarvis: 919-829-4576

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