A weekly, hour-long newsmagazine on North Carolina, Carolina Journal Radio is hosted by Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai and features a diverse mix of guests and topics. Education reform, tax policy, the state legislature, affirmative action, air pollution, freedom of the press and the courts – these are just a few of the subjects that Carolina Journal Radio has tackled since the program began production in 2003.
Carolina Journal Radio No. 924: State should take new steps to fight collusive lawsuits
If a state government agency wants to avoid complying with N.C. law, it might be able to accomplish its goal through a collusive lawsuit settlement. But state lawmakers could take steps this year to strike back against those settlements. Andy Jackson, director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity at the John Locke Foundation, explains why the General Assembly should address the issue. The recent addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court has revived discussion of the legal concept of originalism. One ongoing debate among constitutional theorists involves the importance of court precedents for originalists like Barrett. That topic sparked a recent online forum sponsored by the Duke law school’s Federalist Society. Featured speaker Randy Barnett, constitutional law professor at Georgetown University, explained how originalists can and should respond to precedents. Gov. Roy Cooper set up a bipartisan group last year to examine health care access issues. During a recent meeting, John Locke Foundation health care expert Jordan Roberts discussed alternatives to the governor’s preferred policy option: Medicaid expansion. Free trade has faced attacks in recent years from high-profile leaders of both major political parties. Even those who support free trade diverge about how to put that support into practice. Donald Boudreaux, economics professor at George Mason University, contrasts free-trade “multilateralists” and “unilateralists.” He explained the difference during a featured presentation to the Classical Liberals of the Carolinas. After nearly 18 years of weekly programs, Carolina Journal Radio is signing off the air. As the John Locke Foundation and Civitas Institute combine forces to create a new major force in North Carolina’s freedom-forward movement, the new organization will promote its ideas in new ways and through new media platforms. Co-host Donna Martinez has been with Carolina Journal Radio since its earliest days. Mitch Kokai joined the show in 2005, roughly 2 1/2 years into the program’s run. As Martinez and Kokai end the program, they offer listeners new ideas for keeping up with insightful analysis of North Carolina’s top political and public policy stories.
Carolina Journal Radio No. 923: Cooper, Robinson to offer contrasting N.C. visions
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson could present very different messages to N.C. voters and taxpayers in the years ahead. The two men previewed a divergent path during their public swearing-in ceremonies in Raleigh. While Cooper complained about the COVID-19 pandemic, racism, unaffordable health care, and unequal opportunity, Robinson emphasized the state’s successes. He pointed to his own story as North Carolina’s first black lieutenant governor. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, assesses the contrast between Cooper and Robinson. Prospective Asian-American students sued the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill over its admissions policies. The suit came as no surprise to Kenny Xu, a political commentator and author of An Inconvenient Minority. The book documents similar race discrimination lawsuits challenging admissions policies at Ivy League schools. Xu shares highlights from his work. He compares the Ivy League story with the situation at Chapel Hill. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby has taken his oath as the top officer in North Carolina’s judicial branch of government. During his first speech as chief justice, Newby shared details of his judicial philosophy. He also explained why court personnel need to work hard to reopen courtrooms in the wake of COVID-19. Major N.C. universities have problems with pervasive sex discrimination. But it’s not the type of discrimination you might expect when you hear those words. Adam Kissel, former deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs at U.S. Department of Education, documented the problem in a recent report. Kissel shares highlights of the report prepared for the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges since last spring for parents of school-age children in North Carolina. Some of them turned to “learning pods” to help address students’ struggles with online learning. Terry Stoops, director of the Center for Effective Education at the John Locke Foundation, assesses families’ experience with learning pods and other innovations sparked by COVID-19.
Carolina Journal Radio No. 922: COVID-19, government lockdowns create special challenges for businesses that sell alcohol
From extended COVID-19 shutdowns to unexpected government fines, owners of alcohol-related businesses in North Carolina have faced special challenges in the past year. John Trump, Carolina Journal managing editor, recaps some of the industry’s key concerns. Bar owners and operators across North Carolina filed lawsuits just before the Christmas holiday. The suits challenge the executive orders Gov. Roy Cooper has used during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep bars shuttered. Jessica Thompson, attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, discusses the suit she filed on behalf of owners of a popular Greenville bar. It has been closed for more than nine months because of government mandates. The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to decriminalize marijuana. Among those objected: U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, R-9th District. During a speech on the House floor, Bishop outlined his concerns about potential negative consequences of changing marijuana’s legal status. Voters selected Mark Robinson to serve as North Carolina’s first black lieutenant governor. The second-highest-ranking office in state government’s executive branch marks Robinson’s first job as an elected official. During a recent online forum for the John Locke Foundation, Robinson highlighted his top priorities for his new role. The head of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, Secretary Michael Regan, has been nominated to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President-elect Joe Biden. Former DEQ Secretary Donald van der Vaart, now a John Locke Foundation senior fellow, discusses Regan’s potential impact at the EPA. Van der Vaart also discusses his own reappointment to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board.
Carolina Journal Radio No. 921: Chief Justice Newby takes over as top N.C. court official
After a month of uncertainty, Republican Paul Newby emerged as the eventual winner of the N.C. Supreme Court chief justice’s election, unseating incumbent Democrat Cheri Beasley. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, assesses Newby’s likely impact as the leader of the state’s highest court and top officer in North Carolina’s judicial branch. American history has faced attacks in recent years. But a textbook titled Land of Hope aims to renew interest in the traditional story of American greatness. Author Wilfred McClay, professor in the history of liberty at the University of Oklahoma, explains why he decided to set his scholarly work aside and focus instead on a book for a school-age audience. COVID-19 will continue to present challenges for the University of North Carolina System throughout the rest of the academic year. UNC President Peter Hans delivered a recent status report on plans for conducting spring semester classes at campuses across the state. Voters selected Catherine Truitt as North Carolina’s new superintendent of public instruction. During a recent online forum for the John Locke Foundation, Truitt discussed her priorities. At the top of the list: helping public schools cope with the disruption linked to the coronavirus pandemic. Voters also placed another new face on the statewide elected Council of State: Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson. Having worked with Dobson during his days as a state legislator, Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, discusses his approach to his new role. Gray also outlines some of Dobson’s top priorities, including protection of the state’s right-to-work status.
Carolina Journal Radio No. 920: Teachers union fights efforts to reopen schools
The N.C. Association of Educators teachers union has been vocal about keeping brick-and-mortar schools closed to students during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s despite the evidence of major learning loss. The union stance also ignores scientific arguments in favor of returning students to classrooms. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, explores NCAE’s opposition to restoring classroom instruction. The N.C. General Assembly is likely to debate law enforcement reforms as the year moves forward. State lawmakers might want to consult Colorado for clues about avoiding bad reform proposals. John Cooke, assistant Republican leader in the Colorado state Senate and husband of John Locke Foundation CEO Amy Cooke, discusses his western state’s recent experience with law enforcement reform legislation. JLF marks a new milestone in the new year. The 30-year-old foundation and the 15-year-old Civitas Institute are joining forces. They are merging capabilities of the state’s top free-market groups. Amy Cooke and Civitas President and CEO Donald Bryson explain why they decided to work together in one single group. Today’s political scene is plagued by too many episodes of grandstanding. Brandon Warmke, assistant philosophy professor at Bowling Green State University, details the problem in a recent book. He shared themes from his work during a recent online presentation for the John Locke Foundation. Gov. Roy Cooper has used emergency powers repeatedly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, believes Cooper has exceeded his constitutional authority in using emergency powers. Guze is urging policymakers to rein in Cooper’s actions by amending the state Emergency Management Act.
Carolina Journal Radio No. 919: Year-end program highlights key issues from 2020
As we look forward to a new year, Carolina Journal Radio reviews some of the most interesting topics from 2020. Amy Coney Barrett has joined the U.S. Supreme Court as its 115th justice. She has said her judicial philosophy mirrors that of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and supporters characterize her as an originalist. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, analyzes Barrett’s record. He discusses the new justice’s likely impact on the nation’s highest court. As Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden relied on advice from U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known popularly as AOC, in developing policies related to energy and the environment. John Locke Foundation CEO Amy O. Cooke, “The Right AOC,” explains why the other AOC’s policy proposals would be wrong for America. COVID-19 has created challenges for everyone, including leaders of the University of North Carolina System. President Peter Hans recently briefed his Board of Governors on budget and access issues linked to the pandemic. If you follow the U.S. Supreme Court and constitutional law, you’ve likely heard the term “originalism.” Until recently, it’s been hard to find a book-length introduction to the concept. Ilan Wurman, visiting assistant professor at Arizona State University’s law school, attempts to fill that gap with the book A Debt Against The Living. Wurman explains why he wrote an introduction to originalism. He also shares its key themes. North Carolina taxpayers would pay the price if the state changes its law against public-sector collective bargaining. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, highlights a new report that tallies the potential costs.