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Constitution of North Carolina

ARTICLE I Declaration of Rights

Sec. 12. Right of assembly and petition.

The people have a right to assemble together to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the General Assembly for redress of grievances; but secret political societies are dangerous to the liberties of a free people and shall not be tolerated.

History Note. - The provisions of this section are similar to those of Art. I, § 25, Const. 1868, as amended by the Convention of 1875.

Legal Periodicals. - For article, "North Carolina's Declaration of Rights: Fertile Ground in a Federal Climate," see 36 N.C. Cent. L. Rev. 145 (2014).

CASE NOTES

City Parade Ordinance Held Constitutional. - Where a city's parade ordinance was codified under the general heading of traffic, its language was directed to the time, place and manner of parades, and it neither imposed restraint upon speech concerning political matters or matters of public concern nor contained any inkling of discrimination against defendant, who was arrested for participating in a parade without a permit, the ordinance was constitutionally valid. State v. Frinks, 284 N.C. 472, 201 S.E.2d 858 (1974).

Ballot Access Rules Held Constitutional. - While North Carolina's ballot access scheme inevitably burdened the associational rights of members of small parties as well as the informational interests of all voters regardless of their party affiliation, it also found that associational rights were not absolute and were necessarily subject to qualification if elections were to be run fairly and effectively. Because a legislative enactment had to be upheld unless its unconstitutionality clearly and unmistakably appeared beyond a reasonable doubt or it could not be upheld on any reasonable ground, the appellate court held that G.S. § 163-96(a)(2) was not violative of N.C. Const., Art. I, §§ 12 or 14, or of the "law of the land" clause of N.C. Const., Art. I, § 19. Libertarian Party of N.C. v. State, 200 N.C. App. 323, 688 S.E.2d 700 (2009), aff'd in part and modified in part, 365 N.C. 41, 707 S.E.2d 199, 2011 N.C. LEXIS 142 (2011).

Requirements of G.S. § 163-96(a)(2) that a political party obtain at least two percent of the votes for governor in the last election or that number of signatures on a petition to be considered a political party was not subject to strict scrutiny, when challenged as being contrary to the due process, freedom of speech and association, and equal protection provisions of N.C. Const., Art. I, §§ 12, 14, and 19 because the requirements did not severely burden associational rights, as: (1) minority parties seeking recognition had over three and one-half years to obtain the required signatures; (2) statute put few restrictions on signatories, since signatories did not have to register with or promise to vote for candidates of the party seeking recognition, and could vote in a major party's primary; (3) handful of supporters could obtain the required signatures; and (4) requirements were readily achievable. Libertarian Party v. State, 365 N.C. 41, 707 S.E.2d 199 (2011).

Requirements of G.S. § 163-96(a)(2) that a political party obtain at least two percent of the votes for governor in the last election or that number of signatures on a petition to be considered a political party did not violate the due process, freedom of speech and association, and equal protection provisions of N.C. Const. Art. I, §§ 12, 14, and 19 because the requirements: (1) were not subject to strict scrutiny; (2) imposed a reasonable hurdle to ballot access, as signatories were not disqualified for voting in another party's primary, the requirements were more permissive than requirements upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court; and (3) did not discriminate against minor parties or operate to freeze the political status quo of a two-party system. Libertarian Party v. State, 365 N.C. 41, 707 S.E.2d 199 (2011).

Complaint Satisfied Causation Elements of Constitutional Claim. - Trial court erred in granting an employer's motion to dismiss on the theory that an employee did not adequately plead the causation element of her constitutional claims because the complaint included allegations sufficient to satisfy the pleading requirements regarding the causation elements of her constitutional claims; the employee alleged she was terminated for speaking out against unlawful practices and that the adverse action was in retaliation for her exercise of her constitutional rights. Feltman v. City of Wilson, 238 N.C. App. 246, 767 S.E.2d 615 (2014).

Cited in City of Winston-Salem v. Chauffeurs Local Union 391, 470 F. Supp. 442 (M.D.N.C. 1979); State v. Neville, 108 N.C. App. 330, 423 S.E.2d 496 (1992); Babb v. Harnett County Bd. of Educ., 118 N.C. App. 291, 454 S.E.2d 833 (1995); Royal v. State, 153 N.C. App. 495, 570 S.E.2d 738 (2002); State v. Hunt, 357 N.C. 257, 582 S.E.2d 593 (2003), cert. denied, 539 U.S. 985, 124 S. Ct. 44, 156 L. Ed. 2d 702 (2003); Sheaffer v. County of Chatham, 337 F. Supp. 2d 709 (M.D.N.C. 2004).

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