The House Judicial Redistricting Committee met to hear from District Court Judge Athena Brooks, Superior Court Judge Joe Crosswhite and representatives from the North Carolina State Bar and North Carolina Bar Association.
With the exception of the NC State Bar which is not allowed to lobby, all entities oppose the current judicial redistricting plan presented in H717 and encourage the committee to proceed with a better researched, more transparent process.
The committee will meet again soon to discuss, and likely vote on, proposed changes to the judicial and prosecutorial districts currently proposed in H717. Real Facts NC will continue to provide updates on this process.
Watch the entire committee meeting from September 19, 2017:
The North Carolina General Assembly has a knack for passing laws that no one asked for and no one wants. These four orphan bills have been left out in the cold with no one to claim credit for them and unlike poor Oliver Twist, North Carolinians are not asking for more.
Rep. Jimmy Dixon spent last session fighting for the aerosolization of leachate, a process, he noted, that has its origins in chemical warfare.
Despite Dixon’s push for H576, one of the largest waste management services in the United States, Waste Management, is not planning on using the new technology.
The company’s relations specialist has said that Waste Management does not use and is not in favor of the aerosolization technology.
Real Facts North Carolina today released a new analysis of judicial maps proposed on Monday. Using the gubernatorial election results from 2016 as a benchmark, the Real Facts report finds that under the proposed maps the number of Republican-held Superior Court seats could double, from 31 to 62 judgeships.
Fourteen times, laws enacted by this unconstitutional General Assembly have been found unconstitutional. Laws that have rigged the system and earned North Carolina headlines for all the wrong reasons. In Superior Court, judges have ruled against the GOP majority on judicial retention elections, local control, and the NCGA’s authority over the coal ash commission.
Now, in the last week of session, and without consulting either the Administrative Office of the Courts or the Conference of District Attorneys, Republicans seek the first statewide redraw of these districts in decades.
Statewide results in the gubernatorial race were nearly even between Democrats and Republicans, 48% to 48%. But in their judicial gerrymander, the GOP picks their voters to turn an even slate into a nearly 2 to 1 advantage.
You can find the report here (PDF).
For five years now, Republican majorities in the North Carolina legislature have been elected under maps that have been found to violate the Constitutional rights of North Carolinians. The nation’s highest court – including a Justice appointed by President Donald Trump - found these legislators’ actions discriminatory yet they treat this news like another round of a child’s game. We have seen why fair and nondiscriminatory representation is important time and again.
Fourteen times, laws enacted by this unconstitutional General Assembly have been found unconstitutional. Laws that have rigged the system and earned North Carolina headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Whether it’s restricting women’s access to health care or the worst voter suppression law in the country, these unconscionable actions by the Republican led General Assembly have hurt every citizen of this state. In their decision striking down the voter suppression law, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called out North Carolina Republicans for targeting black voters “with almost surgical precision.” When will it end?
From the State Supreme Court to the Fourth Circuit and all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, courts have not been fooled by the actions of North Carolina Republicans who have enacted laws under the dark cloud of a racial gerrymander. The cases range from the drawing of district maps to coal ash to defunding Planned Parenthood to Elections and Ethics Reform, taking power away from the Governor. In each instance, the rulings have been clear that the partisan power grabs are wrong and they must end.
Republican Appeals Court Judge Donna Stroud spoke at the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to dispute Rep. Sarah Steven’s inaccurate data about the court’s workload. Steven’s H239 would reduce the Court of Appeals from 15 to 12 judges.
During the committee meeting, senator after senator questioned the logic for reducing the Court’s workload and wondered aloud why there was not an official position from the Courts. Eventually, Rep. Stevens was called out during public comment by Republican Court of Appeals Judge Donna Stroud, who brought her own set of data directly from the court.
By the end even Republican Sen. Jerry Tillman agreed with Judge Stroud, “Something is wrong here and I believe your numbers would be right.”Read More
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.Read More
Following the election of Judge Mike Morgan to the North Carolina Supreme Court by an overwhelming margin on Nov. 8 2016, the balance of the court shifted from a 4-3 Republican majority to a 4-3 Democratic majority. Media began reporting days after the election that Republican leaders were rumored to be considering a scheme to add two Justices to the NC Supreme Court, during a “special session” called ostensibly to discuss recovery efforts from the flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew. Gov. McCrory would appoint two new justices before leaving office to fill the new seats until the next election of the General Assembly.Gov. McCrory has said he will call an extra session on Dec. 13th to discuss recovery efforts, but legislators can, by simple majority vote, suspend the rules and take up any matter they wish.
Republican leaders have repeatedly refused to denounce or deny rumors that they will use the special session to add Supreme Court Justices, saying it has not been “formally” discussed and they won’t comment on “rumors.” While legislative leaders deny a Supreme Court packing scheme is under consideration, Senate Leadership put forward a similar proposal in 2013.