Earls win blocks Republicans state Supreme Court packing plans.
In December 2016 then-Governor Pat McCrory confirmed the legislature planned to pack the NC Supreme Court by claiming he worked to “deter efforts to expand” the court. Since December of 2016, Republicans have made several attempts at legislative selection of judges, culminating in the defeated judicial selection amendment which Sen. Newton admitted in committee was an attempt to “drive our state toward” judicial selection.
Earls' win blocks this scheme for the foreseeable future as adding two seats appointed by the governor doesn’t do anything for their majority. Democrats currently have a 4-3 majority on the NC Supreme Court and, with this win, will hold a solid 5-2 majority. Thus, even if the legislature added two Republican judges, it wouldn't give them control of the high court. Since the 2011 redistricting Republican Justices on the state Supreme Court have overturned state redistricting precedents to advantage Republican gerrymandering – voting along party lines to overrule previous state constitutional precedents.