In the Dead of the Night: Examining the Constitutionality and Precedent for the North Carolina General Assembly’s Infamous “Midnight Session”

BY John Holton

“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.

DOWNLOAD PDF | 91 N.C. L. Rev.Addendum 21 (2012)