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Republican Rep. Sarah Stevens admits plans to add justices to the NC Supreme Court

Despite repeated claims that they would never pack the court, Rep. Sarah Stevens dropped the pretense for a moment in a floor debate this week. 

Debating the merits of H239, Steven’s bill to shrink the Court of Appeals, she argued the main goal of the bill was to shift work to the state Supreme Court. Stevens alluded to the fact that the Chief Justice’s commission had considered expanding the Supreme Court shortly after the 2016 election. Stevens even stated that the General Assembly would be willing to come back to the issue a few years down the road once they see what the increased workload for the Supreme Court looks like.

In addition to shrinking the Court of Appeals, H239 increases the workload of the NC Supreme Court by allowing certain cases to bypass the appellate court. By increasing its workload this bill sets the stage for packing the Supreme Court. Stevens said so herself. 

Republican leadership has claimed time and time again that packing the Supreme Court is just a rumor, but Republicans won’t let that rumor die. Former Governor Pat McCrory even confirmed the plan to pack the court back in December saying, “I also successfully worked to deter any efforts to expand the composition of our Supreme Court.”   

So, is H239 really about reducing the Court of Appeals or just paving the way for Republicans to stack the Supreme Court?