The Republican-led House voted Wednesday 74 to 44 along party lines to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill that would make Superior and District Court judicial elections partisan again.
The Senate must also vote to override House Bill 100. If the body overrides the bill and it becomes law, North Carolina joins only seven other states that have partisan judicial elections.
House Republicans and Democrats debated for about 10 minutes whether to override the bill before there was a vote. The body debated helmets for autocycles afterward for about an hour.
Rep. Joe John (D-Wake), a former Court of Appeals judge, was particularly outspoken about not making judicial elections partisan again.
“I do not look upon this as a partisan issue but a bipartisan one affecting all … judges alike,” he said.
John, who also served as a District and Superior Court judge, asked his peers not to throw judges into the “muck and mire of partisan political elections,” and said he wished he could fully express the dangers of politicizing the courts.
“It’s not often in time we’re given a second chance,” he said.
He wore a pin on his jacket that he earned after serving on the Court of Appeals and said now more than ever North Carolina needs an independent judiciary.
The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Justin Burr (R-Montgomery, Stanly) said voters deserve to know the political ideology of judges and that HB100 would restore voter’s rights.