Courts & the Law, Defending Democracy, News

GOP judicial changes: Trouble in paradise?

House Rules Chairman David Lewis (R-Harnett) said last week that lawmakers may not reach an agreement to pass any judicial reforms in January, according to a WRAL story.

Lawmakers will meet for a special session Jan. 10, at which time they were expected to take up both judicial reform and constitutional amendments, including a new voter identification measure.

However, WRAL reports:

Lewis, R-Harnett, a key leader in the House, said legislators haven’t coalesced behind proposals to redraw election districts for judges or to move instead to an appointments system. There has been a divide between the House and the Senate on this, but there also are indications House Republicans aren’t all on board with proposed new districts for judges, which could prove important given the possibility of veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

“If we can’t get agreement, and that was one of the main things we were going to do, it may be a very short session,” Lewis said.

He also said there’s no plan, at the moment, to approve potential constitutional amendments during the coming session. That would include a voter ID proposal.

Lewis told the TV station that the special session could last a day or it could last a week, and that there was a planned leadership conference in which the details would be worked out.

Rep. Justin Burr (R-Montgomery, Stanly) introduced new judicial maps earlier this year, which the House passed. The Senate expressed preference for a merit selection process and created a committee to review all potential judicial reform plans.

That committee last week introduced its own maps, which were changed somewhat from Burr’s to address constitutional issues.

Lewis told WRAL he hoped discussions about judicial reform would be further along. You can read the full story here.

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