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In chambers filled with polished wood and men in robes speaking in measured cadences, leaning over thick briefs, laboring in pursuit of not perfect justice but, at least, to see enough truth to reach a verdict, three judges stopped pursuing thieves and rapists and swindlers to hold a hearing to decide the Democratic Governor’s lawsuit against Republican Legislators.

When his turn came one of the three judges calmly asked the Republicans’ lawyer, Is North Carolina’s Governor ‘out of control?’

The lawyer didn’t blink: ‘No,’ he said. And added the Republicans’ bill stripping the new Governor of his powers didn’t have one thing to do with the fact he was a Democrat.

This is just good policy, the lawyer told the judge.

The judge had laid a trap and the lawyer had walked straight into it.

So why, the judge asked, didn’t Republican legislators pass this good policy when we had a Republican Governor?

The judge could have stopped there – but he had one more axe he wanted to grind.

Days before the hearing, the Republican Leader of the State Senate and Republican Speaker of the State House had claimed the three judges presiding over the lawsuit were trying ‘to dictate’ to legislators; – looking down from the bench at the lawyer the judge, who was a Democrat, said the court had never done any such thing. In no way was the court telling legislators what to do. Or not to do. Legislators could hold a hearing every day if they wanted to. They could even vote at every hearing.

The judge had laid another trap: And this time he walked straight into it.

What we are saying, he added, is their vote is null and void.

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