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North Carolina Judicial Branch.

The Wake County Courthouse in Raleigh is playing host to a new legal challenge to partisan gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering back in court as N.C. case asks: Will states step in where Supreme Court would not?

The Supreme Court's landmark ruling that federal judges are powerless to police political gerrymandering is not going to be the final word on the matter from an American courthouse.

Opening arguments were heard Monday in a state court lawsuit challenging the work of North Carolina's aggressive Republican mapmakers, the same folks whose work on congressional districts survived a high court challenge in Washington just three weeks ago.

But this time, the plaintiffs (led by Common Cause) are challenging the boundaries of state legislative districts — alleging they abridge North Carolina's constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and equal protection and so should be tossed out, even if they can no longer be challenged as violating the U.S. Constitution.

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Promotors of Trump judges rebuff call to reveal 'dark money,' accusing Democrats of hypocrisy

A leading promoter of President Trump's effort to make the judiciary more conservative is pushing back hard on allegations of hypocrisy leveled by Democratic senators. Transparency in campaign financing, one of the central causes for those who want to limit money's sway over policymaking, is the issue.

Fourteen senators — including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker — wrote the Judicial Crisis Network this week demanding it reveal who has financed more than $20 million worth of television advertising to press the confirmation of Trump's court picks.

"The American public deserves to know who is funding these attacks, and whether the same individuals are financing litigation before the court that will ultimately be decided by the justices and judges they helped to confirm," the senators wrote.

The demand came after the advocacy group launched a $1 million TV campaign accusing the Democrats of a different sort of improper secrecy: keeping quiet the names of people they'd consider nominating to the federal bench if one of them becomes president.

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Sen. Kamala Harris speaks at a town hall meeting in North Las Vegas in March. Nevada is one of two states that will allow participation by phone in the 2020 caucuses.

Pivotal caucuses will allow Democrats to phone it in

If you use the telephone to declare your presidential preference, have you really participated in your party's caucuses?

Yes, say the Democrats of Iowa and Nevada, where next winter's caucuses will be crucial to winnowing the sprawling field of candidates into a handful with a genuine shot at getting nominated to take on President Trump.

In both bellwether contests, where human contact has been a central part of the process for years, it will no longer be necessary to join an evening of last-minute jawboning and deal-cutting before casting a ballot in an overheated church basement or high school cafeteria. A Democratic loyalist will be able to, quite literally, phone it in.

The tele-caucusing innovations were announced by party officials in Nevada on Monday, when the Democratic National Committee signaled its endorsement of the plan unveiled a few months ago in Iowa, home of the first contest. The states are also part of the first experiments with ranked-choice voting at the presidential level.

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