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Senate committee to meet first about judicial redistricting, not merit selection, two-year judicial terms

The agenda for the Senate Select Committee on Judicial Reform and Redistricting leaves out two key points Republicans have either recently discussed or threatened: merit selection and a proposed constitutional amendment to shorten all judges and justices terms to two years.

The committee will meet for the first time today at 1 p.m. in room 643 of the Legislative Office Building. Senate President Pro Tem named mostly GOP members to the committee last month.

At the time, Berger released a statement that the committee would consider all options on how the state selects judges, “including the House’s judicial redistricting bill, merit selection models, retention elections, and, if we maintain a system of elections, their frequency and partisan structure.”

Today’s agenda, released only in the last day, leaves out all of those “options” except Rep. Justin Burr’s (R-Stanley, Montgomery) plan to redistrict all judicial and prosecutorial districts.

The Senate committee is expected to hear from Burr and discuss his plan, House Bill 717, which has already passed in the other chamber. They will also hear from Gerry Cohen, former special counsel to the legislature, and Michael Crowell, a former UNC School of Government professor, on judicial redistricting.

Representatives from District Court and Superior Court Judges’ Conferences and the Administrative Office of the Courts will also speak about judicial redistricting at the meeting.

The committee will conclude the meeting by considering other topics for future meetings. Today’s meeting is open to the public. Documents legislators will have are online here.

The updated judicial redistricting maps are below.

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