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SCOTUS rules against UNC | school choice voucher fraud | SBI Director continues past term end
No. 26 — Jun. 25-Jul. 1, 2023
It’s officially been half a year of sending out this weekly review of news stories in the Triangle, as well as the occasional original reporting by yours truly. If you’ve appreciated this publication, please consider sharing with a friend:
DA dismisses charges of man convicted in 2007 shooting of Durham police officer - WRAL
The Durham County District Attorney has declined to refile charges against a Kevin Johnson, who was convicted of non-fatally shooting a Durham Police officer during a burglary in 2007. The results of Johnson’s initial trial were overturned after his co-defendant, David Williams, signed an affidavit in 2020 retracting his claims that Johnson had been involved in the burglary and shooting. However, when Williams was arrested and forced to testify at a hearing earlier this year, he reverted to his original story implicating Johnson.
The judge presiding over the case cited Williams’ inconsistencies in his decision last month to order a new trial for Johnson, giving the DA’s office 60 days to decide if they still wished to go ahead with the prosecution.
The Durham DA has declined to continue prosecuting Johnson, leaving him a free man after over 15 years incarceration.
Analysis reveals fraud in Opportunity Scholarship voucher program
A recent analysis in response to the GOP’s efforts to expand the state’s school choice voucher program claims extensive fraud in the current voucher program. The analysis compared the enrollment numbers compiled by the Division of Non-Public Education to the vouchers recipients reported by the State Education Assistance Authority, and found 62 times where a school received more vouchers than the total number of students enrolled.
The report has prompted local media to investigate further. One such investigation by the News & Observer reported that Mitchener University Academy in Johnston County had already been suspended from the voucher program earlier. The State Education Assistance Authority reportedly made the school return $37,319 for vouchers which had been disbursed for students which did not actually attend in the fall 2022 semester.
Plagiarizing Chapel Hill Superintendent Nyah Hamlett pursues restraining order against critics (source: News & Observer)
SCOTUS rules against UNC, Harvard in affirmative action lawsuit
UNC-Chapel Hill chancellor disappointed in SCOTUS admissions decision, but ‘will comply’ - Carolina Journal
On Thursday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling in a lawsuit challenging the affirmative action programs at UNC-Chapel Hill and Harvard.
The court ruled 6-3 against the current UNC-CH policies discriminating against Asian and White college applicants on the sole basis of their race. However, it remains to be seen what practical effect this ruling will have on the institutions like UNC-CH who have expressed their strong commitment to holding People of Non-Asian Color to lower standards. Will they accept the spirit of the ruling, or will they endeavor to use loopholes to maintain their current ideological driven policy?
Here’s a relevant paragraph from the majority opinion (pp. 39-40)
At the same time, as all parties agree, nothing in this opinion should be construed as prohibiting universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise. See, e.g., 4 App. in No. 21–707, at 1725– 1726, 1741; Tr. of Oral Arg. in No. 20–1199, at 10. But, despite the dissent’s assertion to the contrary, universities may not simply establish through application essays or other means the regime we hold unlawful today. (A dissenting opinion is generally not the best source of legal advice on how to comply with the majority opinion.) “[W]hat cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly. The Constitution deals with substance, not shadows,” and the prohibition against racial discrimination is “levelled at the thing, not the name.” Cummings v. Missouri, 4 Wall. 277, 325 (1867). A benefit to a student who overcame racial discrimination, for example, must be tied to that student’s courage and determination. Or a benefit to a student whose heritage or culture motivated him or her to assume a leadership role or attain a particular goal must be tied to that student’s unique ability to contribute to the university. In other words, the student must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual—not on the basis of race. Many universities have for too long done just the opposite. And in doing so, they have concluded, wrongly, that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned but the color of their skin. Our constitutional history does not tolerate that choice.
NC SBI Director won’t step down at end of term due to lack of replacement
After my initial report, both WRAL and The News & Observer have confirmed that the current Director of the NC State Bureau of Investigation, Bob Schurmeier, will be continuing in office until the General Assembly confirms a replacement. Schurmeier’s appointed term ended yesterday, but the GA has yet to vote on Governor Cooper’s nominee for his replacement, current State Capitol Police Chief R.E. Chip Hawley. According to The N&O, House Speaker Tim Moore’s office attributed the delay to the current investigation into Schurmeier’s accusation against Cooper of undue interference in the department.
I have previously written on Hawley, as he was one of the police leaders responsible for shutting down a gathering in April 2020 for the crime of engaging in the “non-essential activity” of protesting the governor:
NC’s 12-week abortion limit goes into effect
The pro-abortion organizations challenging the GOP’s abortion restrictions in federal court failed to prevent the law from going into effect today. The temporary restraining order Judge Catherine Eagles issued on Friday only affected a single provision of the law which required abortionists to document a woman’s pregnancy before “prescribing, administering, or dispensing an abortion-inducing drug”, which the plaintiffs argued was unconstitutionally vague.
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