North Carolina strips $3 million from law school in possible retaliation over voter ID criticism

North Carolina Republicans are doing everything they can to protect their recent laundry list of restrictions on voting rights. If Democrats in the state are to be believed, that includes going after public employees who are critical of their actions.

From RawStory:

During a budget debate in the state Senate on Monday, Republicans passed a last-minute amendment that would strip $3 million from the law school and redirect it to the Mountain Area Health Education Center near Asheville, WRAL reported.

Democratic state Sen. Floyd McKissick noted that both schools could have been easily funded if Republicans had not repealed the privilege license tax for banks, which he said was costing the state $12 million a year.

State Sen. Terry Van Duyn, a Democrat from Buncombe County, asserted that the move had been done to punish the UNC School of Law after they refused to fire Professor Gene Nichol, who has been critical of the Republican-controlled legislature’s efforts to pass voter ID laws.

Republicans have defended the budgetary move by arguing that North Carolina doesn’t need more lawyers, a complete non-sequitur. If that were true, why not get rid of the law school entirely?

The state’s actions are especially suspicious given that UNC’s Republican-leaning Board of Governors had already forced the school’s privately-funded Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, which had been run by Professor Nichol, to shut its doors. The Board pushed for Nichol to be fired, but the school refused. After all, he is by all accounts a perfectly competent professor.

Taken together with the legislature’s move to “fix” its photo ID law to make it less legally suspect, itself an admission that Professor Nichol may have been onto something when criticizing the law, the budget cuts certainly feel like political retribution. We already know how the Republican Party feels about academia — i.e. those who trade in evidence rather than assertion — and it’s becoming abundantly clear that when they hold the pursestrings at the state level they are more than willing to use them to silence those who call them out for their anti-democratic policies.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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9 Responses to “North Carolina strips $3 million from law school in possible retaliation over voter ID criticism”

  1. Snarki, child of Loki says:

    If there’s anything that power-hungry moronic GOP politicians HATE with the white-hot heat of a thousand exploding suns, it’s tenured faculty that can mouth off, but can’t be fired.

    GOPer to Chancellor: “He embarrassed me! In public! FIRE HIM NOW!”
    Chancellor: “Why don’t you do it? I’ll put him on the phone”
    Prof: “Hello?”
    GOPer: “You’re fired!”
    Prof: “Ha ha ha ha ! Fuck you sideways, moron.”

  2. Houndentenor says:

    No. Those lawyers will be racking up more debt meaning their only options for jobs will be corporate law or law firms defending banksters and polluters as their only hope of earning enough to pay back their loans. While no one seemed to be paying attention most states have gone from providing 80% of funding for state schools to less than 20% with students making up the difference.

  3. Indigo says:

    Classic! As Pink Floyd sang
    “We don’t need no
    Education . . . “

  4. Max Mills says:

    1. What you have said here is simply false. More educated people tend to vote democratic.

    2. The idea that universities are bad or that they are liberal indoctrination centers is a really common talking point. Coulter and Santorum and plenty of other Republican figureheads have made comments along those lines. If you have not seen anti-intellectualism from the Right it is because you are choosing to ignore it.

  5. 2karmanot says:

    “The notion that Republicans are anti-academic is absurd” Well, Laudy, Laudy, I do declare. That’s why a Republican saying something like, “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s
    in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on —
    shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again,”is Yale material.

  6. gratuitous says:

    Well, someone is certainly against educating the citizens. Odd how these random and disparate budget cuts just happen to fall on agencies and organizations associated with Professor Nichol. But we can be sure it’s not about race, because it’s never about race. Or poverty. Or privilege and the protection thereof.

  7. silas1898 says:

    Everybody hates lawyers. Until they need one.

  8. pogden297 says:

    Not sure how that’s a “non-sequitur.” With $3 million less, UNC will be churning out fewer lawyers-to-be. That’s something to be celebrated. The notion that Republicans are anti-academic is absurd. Republicans are on average better educated than Democrats with more of them having college degrees than those on the other side.

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