After Justice Newby echoes Trump’s “send them back” message, Berger Jr. seeks to further politicize “boring” judicial races.
by Hannah Hogewood
In a concurring opinion released recently, NC Court of Appeals Judge Berger, a Republican, wanted to clarify something he felt his colleagues left out of their ruling. Judicial candidates, like Phil Berger , Jr, follow a code that prevents them from taking specific stances on issues likely to show up in their courtrooms. Berger thinks this makes judicial races “boring.” Apparently, Berger wants to keep “boring” rules out of other political races.
Berger’s assertion that judicial races are boring comes a week after NC Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby took heat for an aggressive critique of his the other members of the Supreme Court. Newby, in trying to criticize his colleagues for being too partisan, strayed widely from the norm in judicial races in making an extreme partisan attack that the Greensboro News & Record called “a new low.” Berger’s opinion reads as though he wants this type of attack to become the norm.
Berger, a candidate for NC Supreme Court, wrote that “Commissioner races will become as boring as judicial races” if candidates are held to their campaign promises. Berger worried that Judges Tyson and McGee’s ruling would give candidates the impression they could be held accountable for what they say on the campaign trail.
Newby has strayed from the rules of judicial races before. He clearly articulated his stance in favor of the discriminatory HB2 bathroom bill, potentially prejudicing him in any of the pending cases that might come before him on the state Supreme court on HB2 and related issues.
It looks like Berger will be the next Republican Supreme Court candidate to follow in Newby’s Trump-like footsteps.