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North Carolina

Weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal courts can't intervene in cases where state lawmakers have aggressively drawn political boundaries to benefit one political party over another, a new front in the nation's redistricting battles opens Monday in a North Carolina courtroom.

A law making it harder for women in North Carolina to get an abortion after 20 weeks is unconstitutional, a federal judge has declared.

The law, which had been on the books since 1973, banned abortion after 20 weeks with only certain exceptions to protect the life of the mother. A 2015 amendment tightened those exceptions, criminalizing abortion unless the woman's life or a "major bodily function" were at immediate risk. Pro-abortion rights groups challenged the law, and on Monday U.S. District Judge William Osteen sided with them.

Partisan gerrymandering is back at the U.S. Supreme Court.

A year and a pivotal justice's retirement after the high court dodged the question, those seeking to break the political stranglehold over legislative redistricting are urging the justices to draw a line beyond which the Republican and Democratic parties cannot go in entrenching their political power, sometimes for decades at a time.

Farmers across the southeastern part of North Carolina are just starting to report details about the hit they've taken from Hurricane Florence. The rain is over, but rivers still are rising, and the full picture of damage to farms and the surrounding environment probably won't be known for weeks.

Judges in North Carolina on Tuesday said that despite declaring the state's electoral map to be unconstitutionally gerrymandered for partisan reasons, there wasn't enough time for the map to be redrawn before midterm elections in November.

"We further find that imposing a new schedule for North Carolina's congressional elections would, at this late juncture, unduly interfere with the State's electoral machinery and likely confuse voters and depress turnout," Judges James Wynn Jr., William Osteen Jr. and W. Earl Britt wrote in their order Tuesday.

Updated at 3:25 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that struck down two North Carolina congressional districts, saying the state relied too heavily on race in drawing them.

Texas could soon follow in the footsteps of Indiana and North Carolina and pass its own "bathroom bill" in the upcoming legislative session. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has made passage of such a bill, which could require transgender Texans to use the restroom which corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate, a priority.

Updated at 8:00 p.m. ET

The North Carolina Legislature began a special session on Wednesday morning to vote on the repeal of a controversial state law that limits civil rights protections for LGBT people, but the effort failed by day's end as the Legislature adjourned without passing any bill.

Tombe / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S Department of Justice and the state of North Carolina are in a legal battle over a law the state passed requiring transgender people to use the restroom matching the gender they were assigned at birth. Proponents of the law believe it's a matter of safety and comfort, while opponents say it's unconstitutional and a violation of civil liberties. 

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Columbus has passed a plan barring city employees from traveling to North Carolina on non-essential business in a show of support for the transgender community.

Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther today spoke out against North Carolina's newly passed law barring transgender people from using bathrooms other than the gender matching their birth certificates.