Commentary

The best editorial of the weekend

The Republican power grabs just keep on a comin’ in Raleigh and so do the denunciations by the state’s leading newspapers. Yesterday’s lead editorial in the Wilmington Star News is the latest to blast GOP’s dishonest remake of the state Court of Appeals — what it calls a “naked grab for partisan power.” Here are some highlights:

Four former chief justices of the state Supreme Court, one of them a Republican, believe the N.C. General Assembly is taking actions that “seriously harm our judicial system” and “hurt the people of our State,” according to a story in The (Raleigh) News & Observer.

In a letter to Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, the former justices criticized a bill adopted by the GOP-dominated legislature cutting the Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12….

This latest move appears to continue the General Assembly’s effort to reach into every aspect of governance and render it almost irrevocably Republican.

After Cooper was elected, the Honorables limited the number of staffers appointed by the governor. They also began requiring Senate approval of cabinet secretaries. There was no such requirement for Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. That decision is being challenged in court.

The courts are also pondering changes imposed on state and local elections boards that weaken the power of the governor and of Democrats in local districts during years of crucial elections. A U.S. District Court judge said the General Assembly’s attempt to redraw district lines for Greensboro City Council is unconstitutional.

Last year, the courts threw out the congressional maps drawn up by the Honorables, forcing a special primary. We’re still awaiting a ruling on the General Assembly’s state legislative districting plan.

And last year, the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a voter ID law it said was designed to disenfranchise minority voters.

The list goes on.

There’s no imperative to reduce the number of judges on the Court of Appeals. This is not “good governance,” as our state constitution mandates. It is another naked grab for partisan power.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen it before.

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