Supreme Court

Abysmal fundraising period for Phil Berger, Jr., leads to questions about his powerful father’s influence, ethics scandals

2019 end of year campaign finance reports trickled in last week following the January 31 deadline and included a few surprises, not least of which was Judge Phil Berger, Jr.’s, extreme cash disadvantage compared to the rest of the field of Supreme Court candidates.

Berger, Jr., ended 2019 with only slightly more than $93K on hand while fellow Republican candidates Paul Newby and Tamara Barringer have more than $400K and $200K, respectively. The Democratic field is similarly situated to Barringer and Newby, putting Berger, Jr., at a financial disadvantage. 


Read More

21 unconstitutional laws passed under the cloud of a racial gerrymander

Running list of laws passed by the Republican-led NC legislature that have been found unconstitutional. 

Read More

21 unconstitutional laws passed under the cloud of a racial gerrymander

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. 

Read More

After Justice Newby echoes Trump’s “send them back” message, Berger Jr. seeks to further politicize “boring” judicial races.

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.

Read More

Paul Newby complained about partisanship on the state’s highest court while launching into a Trump-like tirade against his fellow justices

At a recent Republican BBQ fundraiser, NC Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby warned event attendees about the danger of injecting partisanship into the courts. He did so through a fearmongering tirade in which he said his fellow NC Supreme Court justices did not stand up for the country or state.

After calling the judicial branch “the most dangerous branch of government,” Newby said his colleagues had little respect for the rule of law. In reference to a passage in the NC Constitution about the right to worship God, Newby drew a contrast between himself and his colleagues, saying the words of the US and NC Constitutions “sound strong to us, but they don’t to them.” 

Newby’s self-righteous disgust over partisanship on the state’s highest court sounded hypocritical after he compared his colleagues to Republican’s favorite villain, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez is often referred to by her initials, ‘AOC.’ 

“Imagine seven ‘AOCs’ on the state Supreme Court,” Newby said, “Well, folks, we got six.” 

Read More

Real Facts NC Releases 2018 Election Report

Real Facts NC released a report today on key NC races in the 2018 midterm elections. Tuesday’s results included major victories with the election of Anita Earls to the NC Supreme Court, the defeat of the two “power grab” constitutional amendments, and the election of three Democrats to the NC Court of Appeals.

Democrats also broke the Republican supermajority in the NC House and, barring two potential recounts, look to have done the same in the NC Senate. Notably, first-time candidate Julie von Haefen beat long-time incumbent and chief budget writer Nelson Dollar. Democrats defeated almost all of the incumbent Wake and Mecklenburg Republicans and picked up two Western NC House seats.

Victories were dampened by the losses of close races in New Hanover County despite shifting tides in that region. Furthermore, four constitutional amendments passed, including the photo ID requirement to vote. A similar measure was previously ruled unconstitutional in 2016 for targeting African American voters “with almost surgical precision.” It is widely expected that Republican lawmakers will attempt to codify some of the same restrictions on acceptable IDs when they return to write the implementing legislation in late November. The right to hunt and fish and the victim’s rights amendments also require implementing legislation.

Some of Tuesday’s results made history, including the election of Pitt County’s first Black District Attorney Faris Dixon and first Black woman Sheriff Paula Dance. In Wake County, Gerald Baker overcame great odds to defeat four-term incumbent sheriff Donnie Harrison. John Arrowood became the first openly LGBTQ person elected to statewide office in NC and the south.

With an eye on potential recounts in Mecklenburg, the Triad, and Wilmington, here is a first look at the 2018 NC election results.

Read More

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 i…

Read More

Video: Retired Appeals Court Judge Doug McCullough (R): vote against power grabbing constitutional amendments to stop GOP’s court packing scheme

Judge Doug McCullough, a retired Republican judge who served on the NC Court of Appeals from 2001-2008 and 2010-2017, spoke out against constitutional amendments that would assist in the GOP’s court-packing scheme. He called the Republican legislature’s constitutional amendments a “blatant power grab” that would only further their scheme to court pack.

Above, Judge McCullough explains his story, describing his resume and his time on the NC Court of Appeals. While describing his time on the Court of Appeals, McCullough confirms that the NC GOP is trying to pack the courts.

Read More

NCGA Republicans admit special session is to try to fix Supreme Court race

The Republican-led NCGA returns Tuesday for a last-minute special session where anything could be on the table.There have been rumors about a move to undo Republicans’ 2016 law making NC Supreme Court Races partisan.

Republican efforts to crowd the field for Democrats in the 2018 Supreme Court race (after they eliminated primaries) backfired when Republican Chris Anglin filed on the last day. Following Democrat Mike Morgan’s 2016 election to the NC Supreme Court, Republicans solidified their attempts at meddling in judicial elections, especially the Supreme Court.

Since December of 2016, Republicans have made moves toward grabbing judicial power and have altered the way North Carolinians elect their judges. Let’s take a look back on the efforts they’ve made to alter the system that elects the judges that keep ruling against Republicans’ unconstitutional laws.

Read More

Judicial Vacancy Constitutional Amendment (S814) next step in Republican court packing scheme

Rep. Darren Jackson called out Republicans on their Supreme Court packing scheme on the House floor Thursday morning. No Republicans challenged his statement. 


Read More