Gov. Roy Cooper signed his first veto Thursday of House Bill 100, which would restore partisan judicial elections for Superior and District Court judges.
He wrote a letter explaining why he vetoed the bill:
“North Carolina wants its judges to be fair and impartial, and partisan politics has no place on the judges’ bench. We need less politics in the courtroom, not more.
Judges make tough decisions on child abuse, divorce, property disputes, drunk driving, domestic violence and other issues that should be free from politics. This bill reverses that progress.
We should let people elect judges based on their experience and ability to do the job, not which party they pick.
I am also concerned that judges who have chosen to register as unaffiliated voters so as to avoid partisan politics now have a difficult path to getting on the ballot.
Therefore, I veto the bill.”
Partisan judicial elections are not recognized as a best practice for keeping the courts independent, and North Carolina would join only seven other states across the nation that have them.
HB100 is only one of many bills the legislature has filed this year that seeks to change the structure of the judiciary.
Republicans in the General Assembly currently have a super-majority and can override Cooper’s vetoes.