The Republicans in Raleigh are seeking to change the rules in the middle of the game. They are the ones who changed judicial elections to make them partisan. They are the ones who canceled judicial primaries. And now that all this effort to rig the system has backfired, they want a do-over.
The leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly don’t need more opportunities to remind voters they’re elections cheaters.
But that’s just what they’re doing in appealing state Superior Court Judge Rebecca Holt’s decision that ordered newly-minted Republican Chris Anglin be identified with the GOP on the state Supreme Court ballot. They’d have been wiser to live with her correct assessment and avoid more publicity and defeat in higher courts.
There’s some important background that’s been largely ignored or misstated that is worth presenting to understand why the legislative leadership’s behavior in this particular matter has been so outrageous. Their problems and complaints are almost entirely self-inflicted.
Last year the Republican legislative leadership changed the rules to elect judges in 2018. While largely an effort to provide more time to complete work on gerrymandering local judicial districts, it was to boost statewide GOP candidates for Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
They’d already dismantled the state’s non-partisan system for electing judges – a national model. As a result, candidates for judicial offices ran in partisan primaries and were identified on the November election ballot as Republicans or Democrats.
At significant taxpayer expense, these unnecessary laws were defended in the federal court system. The legislators won. But schemers, in their haste and deviousness, don’t always look at all the details.