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By Mike Meno
ACLU-NC Communications Director

All members of the public – regardless of their personal religious beliefs – should feel welcome when they attend meetings of their local government that discuss issues affecting the community. But for years in Rowan County, North Carolina, that was not the case. The local county commissioners routinely coerced members of the public to participate in sectarian prayers – and in doing so, they violated the Constitution.

That was the central argument ACLU of North Carolina Legal Director Chris Brook made to all 15 judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on March 22, when the full court sat en banc for arguments in a lawsuit the ACLU-NC filed four years ago on behalf of three Rowan County residents.

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This op-ed originally appeared on ncpolicywatch.com

by Angela Gilmore

Six years ago, I moved to North Carolina to accept a one-year teaching position at Elon University School of Law in Greensboro. My wife, also named Angela, and I, had just made the final repair on our home in Florida, where we planned to live for the rest of our lives. But during my year in North Carolina, I fell in love with the state, and I began looking for a job that would allow Angela and me to relocate here permanently.

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The Board of Directors of the ACLU of North Carolina today announced that it has hired Karen Anderson as our organization's new Executive Director.

A passionate civil libertarian with a strong leadership background, Karen is joining us from New Hampshire, where she has spent the last 15 years as Director of Administration and Finance for the Office of the New Hampshire Public Defender. In that role, she had primary responsibility for all corporate, financial, and business matters, including strategic planning, human resources and more.

Karen is also no stranger to the ACLU: she currently serves as President of the Board of the ACLU of New Hampshire and previously served as that affiliate's representative on the National ACLU Board.

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By Jen Wolfe, ACLU-NC Legal Fellow

This month the North Carolina Supreme Court will hear arguments that ask whether a change to the election process for state Supreme Court justices is constitutional. Last year the North Carolina General Assembly passed a law that would replace contested elections of incumbent Supreme Court justices with a “FOR/AGAINST” retention referendum, in which the incumbent justice runs unopposed. The law was set to take effect this election cycle.

While legislators have known and recognized for decades that a constitutional amendment is necessary to change the method for selecting Supreme Court justices, in the past legislators have been unable to garner the three-fifths vote needed in both houses to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. In 2015 the legislature passed this bill into law without seeking a constitutional amendment.

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