Commentary

Committee set up by Republican Supreme Court Chief Justice: Don’t pack the court

Chief Justice Martin

Chief Justice Martin

The momentum in Raleigh appears to be building for transforming next week’s special legislative session on Hurricane Matthew into a genuine political hurricane. Rumors continue to persist inside the Raleigh beltline that lawmakers are increasingly likely to undertake one of the most blatant and misguided power grabs in state history by adding two new justices to the state Supreme Court in order to reverse the 4-3 partisan advantage Democrats won on Election Day last month.

As was noted in this space previously, if the rumors prove to be true (and the silence from those with the power to deny them is growing increasingly deafening) it would be one of the lowest of all low acts imaginable right now — a not-so-silent coup d’état and an outright assault on democratic government.

It would also run in direct opposition to the recommendations of a state committee appointed by Republican Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin. As Raleigh’s News & Observer reported last night, the Public Trust and Confidence Committee of the N.C. Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice issued a report on November 15 that rejects such a move:

In urging the General Assembly to make workloads and not political considerations the basis for expansion, the Public Trust and Confidence Committee stated “that any other consideration for numbers of judges and justices threatens public trust and confidence.”

The committee adopted a second resolution urging the full commission to “issue a statement opposing the expansion of our Supreme Court” unless the state Administrative Office of the Courts “requests the additional justices to meet workload demands.”

Let’s hope fervently that state lawmakers are paying attention to these kinds of nonpartisan, commonsense recommendations, but given past experience, it seems extremely doubtful.

One Comment


  1. Kiersten

    December 8, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    So who can define ajuducation options at the federal level.
    Attorneys, judges, legal experts, please speak up!

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