July 04
03:30 2018

Hold off on replacement for Justice Kennedy

To the Editor:

Justice Kennedy played a pivotal role on the Supreme Court for 30 years.  He was the deciding vote in many close cases involving civil rights and civil liberties. Without his moderating influence, the balance on the Court could shift dramatically to the right.

This court has already undermined basic rights we all believed we enjoy as Americans – the right to strong unions that bargain collectively; one person, one vote principles; redistricting; and regarding the right of women to make their own health care decisions.

The stakes for nominating a replacement could not be higher at any moment in our history.

The court serves as the guardian of our rights and liberties. The country desperately needs a fair-minded and independent jurist. Now is not the time for a divisive and biased appointment who will shake the public’s faith in the justice system.

The constitutional process for appointing and confirming the next justice must be careful, deliberative and conducted with bipartisan support. The Senate should not consider a nominee until a new Senate is seated next year. Moreover, the new Senate should ensure that the nominee has a demonstrated commitment to equal justice and civil rights. The names identified on Trump’s shortlist do not fit that bill.  For the good of the American people, we urge the President and the Senate to carefully exercise their respective roles under the Constitution in light of the consequential impact of this nomination on our democracy.

The NAACP and its members are committed to protecting the gains won through the sacrifices of our ancestors and to protecting civil rights for generations to come.

Our justice system – and indeed the very peace and tranquility of our nation – hang in the balance.

We will not go silently into the night. We can’t.


Baltimore, Maryland

Income tax rate cap amendment is bad deal

To the Editor:

The passage of Senate Bill 75, proposing a constitutional amendment capping the income tax rate to lock in recent legislative decisions to reduce rates, is fiscally irresponsible and unnecessary.

In order to keep funding vital public services such as schools and public safety, lawmakers will likely have to raise the sales tax or fees, which will eat into middle class families’ paychecks and financially hurt those who are already struggling to get by.

Lawmakers are not trying to bring greater democracy to the budget process; they are trying to take choices away from future generations of North Carolinians.

Constitutions should be flexible and enduring frameworks for governing, not the place to impose the arbitrary whims of the moment on future generations.

Today’s [June 28] vote shows just how arbitrary the rate is that legislators choose to enshrine in the state Constitution. The bottom line is that this is about further locking in low tax rates that primarily benefit the wealthy, cutting public investments that serve the common good and shifting the costs for our state’s needs to local governments and the middle class.

In the end, the results of this unnecessary amendment will be costly for us all.

Alexandra Sirota, Director

Budget & Tax Center


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