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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

Advocates stand with NC Justice Earls during investigation

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Thursday, December 28, 2023   

Numerous groups are showing support for North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls as an investigation moves forward following her comments regarding the lack of diversity in the state's courts.

Despite defending her statements as an exercise of free speech, this probe has raised concerns among activists.

Dawn Blagrove, executive director of the group Emancipate North Carolina, emphasized the potential implications for civil rights in North Carolina.

"If we don't stop this assault on the civil and social rights of North Carolina, we are going to see unprecedented levels of voter suppression, unprecedented levels of civil rights violations that will be unanswered," Blagrove asserted. "It will make living in North Carolina as a Black and poor brown person very dangerous. "

Blagrove explained the ongoing investigation, conducted by the state judicial commission, aims to determine whether Earls' comments violated the state's Code of Judicial Conduct. If found guilty, she could face censure or even removal from office.

In a late development, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Earls' plea for an injunction against North Carolina's Judicial Standards Commission. Earls sought help from the Fourth Circuit after her request for an injunction was denied by U.S. District Judge William Osteen twice within nine days at the trial court level.

Blagrove raised another troubling aspect of the investigation, highlighting potential consequences for those serving within the judicial system.

"For those people that have those positions, the General Assembly and the North Carolina Supreme Court, are going to make it very clear that if they do not toe the party line, that if they speak out against injustices within the system, that they will be punished for that," Blagrove contended.

Blagrove stressed it is important to understand what is at stake, arguing the investigation highlights the necessity for organizations and activists to expose tactics at the North Carolina General Assembly and Appellate Court levels. She added she feels it is a call to action to protect the freedoms of marginalized communities through civic engagement, voting and raising awareness.

Disclosure: Emancipate North Carolina contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Criminal Justice, Human Rights/Racial Justice, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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