As Policy Watch, and numerous other outlets, have reported in recent days, Raleigh is awash these days with rumors that Republican leadership in the N.C. General Assembly may be mulling a court-packing plan that would tilt the balance of power in the N.C. Supreme Court back to the right.
Under that scenario, which presumes that canvassing in the gubernatorial race does not change the outcome, lawmakers would move to expand the state’s top court while Gov. Pat McCrory is still in office, theoretically allowing McCrory to appoint new right-leaning judges.
However, Rep. Craig Horn, a top Republican from Union County, tells Policy Watch that he believes the speculation is merely that, speculation.
“Not one single legislator or policymaker or anyone from the governor’s office, no one has spoken to me about this,” said Horn.
Horn said the talk has mainly been circulated by the media and policy think-tanks in the state capitol, a hysteria he blames on fired up politicos reeling from last week’s election results.
“We can do lots of stuff, we can,” said Horn. “But c’mon folks, right now, emotions are running high. I’m going to say to you what my kids say to me: ‘Pop, take a chill pill.'”
Asked if he would support any moves to expand the state’s Supreme Court, Horn said he would “probably not.”
“Why should we do that?” Horn said. “If the answer is a partisan answer, then I’m not interested.”
Of course, it’s worth noting that while Horn is an influential leader in the state House, the state Senate has been considerably more right-tilted than the House in recent years. Also, House or Senate leadership has not been particularly loquacious about the subject.