North Carolina Law Review

University of North Carolina School of Law

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In the Dead of Night: Examining the Constitutionality and Precedent for the North Carolina General Assembly's Infamous "Midnight Session"

March 28, 2013

91 N.C. L. Rev. Addendum 21 (2012)


"Unprecedented," "unethical," "pure chicanery," "fundamentally unconstitutional" : all of these phrases were used to denounce the now-infamous "midnight session" held by the North Carolina General Assembly on January 5, 2012. After being called into session by Governor Beverly Perdue on January 4 to consider overruling a gubernatorial veto of Senate Bill 9-a reformation of the Racial Justice Act ("RJA")-the Republican leaders of the House of Representatives employed procedural gymnastics to permit the House to vote on and override the veto of another bill: Senate Bill 727 ("SB 727"), pertaining to the North Carolina Association of Educators' (NCAE) ability to collect dues through payroll deductions. Without question, the House leadership's procedural' maneuvering (passing a resolution to commence a new legislative session in the dead of night) was surreptitious and lacking in transparency. But, after further inquiry, this Comment concludes that these actions were neither unconstitutional nor unprecedented. 



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