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WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union announced today that its new national legal director, David Cole, will testify at Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for attorney general on January 11.

The ACLU is nonpartisan, and as a matter of longstanding policy does not support or oppose nominees for federal office. As a result, the ACLU rarely testifies in confirmation hearings. However, the organization is taking the extraordinary step of testifying in this hearing because Sen. Sessions’ record raises significant, serious questions about his hostility to civil rights and civil liberties. The ACLU believes he must satisfactorily answer questions on these issues before a confirmation vote proceeds. 

ACLU’s analysis of Sessions’ civil liberties record prepared for the confirmation process is available here:
https://www.aclu.org/feature/confirmation-sessions

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10 Good Things That Happened in 2016

Posted on in Legal News

For many of us, the end of the year brings a time for reflection. As champions of freedom and justice, we have faced unprecedented challenges in 2016, with North Carolina making headlines time and again for all the wrong reasons.

Yet even in the midst of repeated attacks on civil liberties, the wheels of progress have not halted. No matter who holds political office or what power they may wield, our work to hold the government to the eternal promise of the Constitution continues.

With vigilance and the generous support of our members and donors, this year the ACLU of North Carolina was able to achieve crucial advances in our work to reform the criminal justice system, protect reproductive freedom and voting rights, and protect all people from discrimination. Here is our list of the top ten advances for civil liberties in North Carolina this year.

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RALEIGH –The North Carolina legislature today convened for a special session where it failed to pass a bill repealing H.B. 2, the state’s sweeping anti-LGBT law.

Based on a promise from the General Assembly to fully repeal H.B. 2, the Charlotte City Council repealed its LGBT non-discrimination ordinances earlier this week. However, the Legislature failed to follow through on its promise, despite the deep and widespread opposition and outrage over the discriminatory nature of the law.

H.B. 2 bans transgender people from accessing restrooms and public facilities consistent with their gender identity and prevents local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people. H.B. 2 is estimated to have cost North Carolina over $600 million in lost revenue from businesses concerned with the discriminatory nature of the law, and was a contributing factor in the election defeat of the outgoing Governor Pat McCrory.

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RALEIGH – The Charlotte City Council voted today to repeal their LGBT non-discrimination ordinance in a move that could lead to the repeal of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, H.B 2. The ACLU and Lambda Legal today called on North Carolina legislative leaders to follow through and repeal H.B. 2, the state law that bans many transgender people from appropriate restrooms and prohibits local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people. The law caused harm to transgender people across the state and cost North Carolina hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue because of widespread opposition to the measure from both the general public and business community.

The two organizations issued the following statement in response.

“H.B. 2 was an unprecedented attack on the LGBT community, in particular against transgender people, and we are encouraged that its days are numbered,” said Sarah Gillooly, Policy Director for the ACLU of North Carolina. “It is imperative that the General Assembly hold up their end of the deal and repeal H.B. 2 in full without delay. This will be an important step for North Carolinians to move forward, but it never should have come at the cost of protections for LGBT people living in Charlotte.”

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – Abortion providers who are challenging North Carolina’s unconstitutional law that prevents doctors from providing abortion care to a woman after the twentieth week of pregnancy yesterday asked a federal court for summary judgement in their case.

In their motion, the groups representing the doctors – which include the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood – argue that North Carolina’s law clearly violates a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion and must be struck down.

“As a physician, not being able to provide a woman the care she needs because of an arbitrary deadline based on politics, not medicine, is devastating,” said Dr. Elizabeth Deans, one of the plaintiffs in the case. “A woman and her doctor should be the ones making medical decisions throughout her pregnancy. But this law enables politicians to intrude into the patient-physician relationship and prevents doctors from providing our patients with high-quality care when they need it.”

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