Fair Courts/Fair Votes Town Hall spotlights legislative attacks on NC courts and elections

Press release from Progress NC:

State lawmakers won’t return to Raleigh until May, but some have already threatened to gerrymander our state courts, take control of the N.C. Supreme Court and even rewrite our constitution to enshrine limits to voting access. And that could only be the beginning.

On Tuesday, April 3, at 6 p.m., concerned voters and members of the legal community will join NC Voters for Clean Elections, Democracy NC, NC NAACP, and Progress NC in Asheville for a Fair Courts/Fair Votes Town Hall spotlighting attempts by state lawmakers to rig the judicial system and state elections in their favor.

A number of bills have either been passed or are being considered by the General Assembly that would wreak havoc on judicial independence in North Carolina. One proposal would eliminate the election of judges altogether, letting legislators cherry-pick partisan judges with no oversight from voters. Another proposal would hyper-politicize judicial elections by forcing judges to run for re-election every two years (instead of four or eight), unfairly slashing the terms of duly-elected judges and forcing them to campaign and hold political fundraisers instead of dispensing justice.

WHAT: Fair Courts/Fair Votes Town Hall, spotlighting legislative attacks on North Carolina courts and elections

WHO: NC Voters for Clean Elections, Democracy NC, NC NAACP, Progress NC

WHEN: Tuesday, April 3, at 6 p.m.

WHERE: Wesley Grant Center, 285 Livingston St., Asheville

Here are just a few of the partisan attacks on North Carolina’s court system that will be discussed:

  • HB656 (Already enacted): Canceled primary elections for judges, making general election ballots longer and more confusing. The first step toward canceling judicial elections altogether and letting politicians appoint judges instead of voters.
  • HB717 (Passed by House): Gerrymanders the judicial system, just like they did with the unconstitutional legislative maps. Nearly half of all black judges would be packed into a district with another incumbent, forcing them to run against each other or step down.
  • SB698 (Introduced): Cuts all judges’ terms to two years, forcing judges to campaign and hold political fundraisers instead of dispensing justice. A judge elected to an eight-year term in 2016 would be forced to run again in 2018 after having their term cut.
  • Legislative Appointment (Proposed): Eliminates judicial elections altogether, letting politicians rig the system by cherry-picking judges who will rule based on political ideology rather than fairness.
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