North Carolina Legislators Are Rigging the Courtsby Eleanore Wood, Digital Director, Progress NC Action October 27, 2017
Our state legislature has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of The United States because they based legislative maps on race, unfairly silencing the voices of people of color. This illegitimate legislature tried to pass voter suppression laws that target people of color and that was found unconstitutional as well. They have repeatedly lost in battle after battle when their unfair bills go to court. What is their solution to this problem? Rig the court system so the judges are partisan and no longer impartial. Essentially, they want to cheat the system so they can pass more unpopular legislation to cut public school funding, cut taxes for corporations, and cut clean water regulations for big polluters unchallenged.
Here is how they are doing it:
- They have already made all judicial races partisan, so now judges will run with party affiliation.
- They have canceled all judicial primary elections.
- They have redrawn the judicial maps, gerrymandering them in the same way they have for the legislature. This move “double bunks” nearly half of all judges of color in the state forcing them to either move or step down from the bench.
- They would like to reduce judicial term limits from 8 years down to 2. This means that all currently sitting judges, like newly elected Supreme Court Justice Mike Morgan, will have to re-run for their fairly elected seats in the next election under the new gerrymandered maps. It also means they will spend much more time campaigning and less time dispensing justice.
- They would like to propose a constitutional amendment that would do away with judicial elections altogether and instead appoint the judges themselves. This will make judges even more beholden to political party ideology.
Our judges should be fair, independent and removed from politics. But if our state legislature is appointing them, the politicians will cherry pick judges who tilt the scales based on political ideology and not fairness. Our courts need more independence and less partisanship, not judges driven by politics. The Republican-led court-meddling plan will only further corrupt the court system and erode people’s faith in the courts to provide justice fairly and impartially. We must let the politicians know that we do not want more partisanship and division, we want to keep our courts fair and impartial.
Digital Director, Progress NC Action