The Senate Select Committee on Judicial Reform and Redistricting focused their second meeting on the judicial selection process and possible reforms to NC’s judiciary. The Committee hosted three guest presenters during the December 6 meeting, Dean Brinkley and Professor Orth from the UNC School of Law and Alicia Bannon from the Brennan Center at NYU. The UNC Law professors explained North Carolina’s judicial history while Bannon explained different judicial selection processes and her recommendation for our state.
It was apparent the Senate Committee members wanted to give the General Assembly the power to appoint judges. The last time North Carolina’s legislators had that power was in the Civil War-era. The experts said this method undesirable because it can be a political and opaque process that leads to nepotism. However, senators liked the idea of going back to a process developed when only landowning white men could vote. Senator Hise proceeded to argue with his question that only the General Assembly should be given any power – perhaps the most honest statement of lawmakers’ real intent in their attempts at judicial reform:Read More
It was (probably) midnight, and hiding under the cover of a racial gerrymander, the Republican-led General Assembly passed laws that hurt the people of North Carolina…
Thankfully, the good witches (and wizards) of the court struck down 14 of those such laws that as unconstitutional, restoring some order to the spooky state.
Not to be foiled again, Republicans began an attack on the courts, at the same time opposing a court-appointed special master who would remedy the racial gerrymander after refusing to submit names for consideration.
At Real Facts we hope this scary tale will come to an end soon, but before it does, see if you can read all the way through these 14 frights:Read More
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.
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.