Raleigh – North Carolina Republicans resumed their efforts to rig North Carolina’s judiciary this morning, debating new ways to gerrymander judicial districts and new schemes to allow the legislature to cherry pick their own judges.

In a late addition to the agenda, the legislature also brought back up a separate but equally partisan idea: stripping the Governor of his constitutional right to fill judicial vacancies in certain courts.

Each is a partisan effort to subvert the independence of our courts or strip even more authority away from Governor Cooper, something Republicans and Democrats were quick to call out:

  • Rep. Blust (R): “why in a legislature that’s not competent to make this decision to appoint judges and that has so much to do we don’t take time on the budget…why do we want to take on one more thing?”
  • Rep. Morey: “Rep Burr is at it again. Not only rigging the courts but also trying to strip away governor’s right to appoint district judges to vacant positions for legislative appointments.”
  • Sen. Van Duyn: “I can find no justification for sub-dividing Buncombe County but to change the parties of the judges there…. And now this. That seems baldly political to me.”
  • Leader Jackson, on legislative selection allowing GOP legislature from selecting Republican judges: “I think that’s the true purpose of this bill.”

Those outside of the Republican General Assembly aren’t buying it either:

  • Seven North Carolina local governments – cities of Rocky Mount and Fayetteville and Beaufort, Durham, Davidson, Nash, and Pitt counties – have already passed resolutions against Republican’s efforts to remake the judiciary.
  • District Court Judge Gordon Miller, a Republican, told voters at a town hall, “I don’t sit on the bench as a member of the NRA or a Republican, I sit there as a District Court judge … I disagree with the bills that have been proposed and I think they’re horrible ideas.”

“Leaders of both parties today called these bills what they are: partisan efforts to rig our independent judiciary because Republicans leaders keep losing in court,” NCDP Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds said. “There’s a reason opposition is overwhelmingly bipartisan – these are ‘horrible ideas.’ It’s time Republicans dropped them and moved on.”

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