Wow, this report surprised me. If any of you know anything about North Carolina politics, it’s that our legislature is ruled by a band of Republican idiots, crony capitalists, and racists. They came to power in 2010, the first time the state legislature (the General Assembly) had gone majority-Republican in generations. Their most notable legacies of this decade are HB2, a/k/a the “bathroom bill” which helped sink Pat McCrory into ignominy (it was good for something), NC’s unconstitutional voter ID law which targeted young and minority voters with “near-surgical precision,” a vast reduction in the state’s investment in public education (once a point of pride, especially in the South), and hyperpartisan gerrymandering intended to keep the legislature Republican until at least the next census, no matter the will of the people. Well we duly un-elected Pat McCrory and added a Democrat to our state’s Supreme Court in November, and the Republicans in the General Assembly couldn’t have been angrier about this turn of events. They have sought to undermine the legitimacy of our governor Roy Cooper, and they have also infamously tried passing numerous laws that curtail his office’s authority, running afoul of our state’s Constitution in the process.
These Republicans are not content to run just the legislative branch. They have been actively trying to capture the judicial branch too. Their next target is the 15-member Court of Appeals. The General Assembly wants to reduce the number of seats to 12 in order to prevent our duly elected governor from appointing replacements for the three judges set to retire between now and 2020.
The Republicans have the votes to override Cooper should he veto this bill designed to limit his authority as governor. Should that happen, the law would take effect very soon and prevent Cooper from appointing a judge who is required to retire next month. Well that judge has now resigned, thereby allowing Cooper to appoint a replacement. Former members of the Court of Appeals stand against the General Assembly’s efforts too. What we have is hope.
I blame much of our current situation on low voter turnout and the national Democratic party apparatus abandoning us after our state went for Barack Obama in 2008. We had a half-hearted candidate for governor in 2012 who was unpopular and uninspiring running against the mayor of Charlotte who had most of the people there snowed on his competence. My hometown’s Republican state representative has run unopposed on the last two ballots. I hope that Tom Perez remembers that we Tar Heels aren’t all in favor of our now-zombie democracy down here, and we could use some help to fight back. Thanks to Judge McCullough for joining our state’s citizens’ resistance to the continued distortion of the will of the people.