If lawmakers vote this weekend to override Senate Bill 3, which restores a 90-day party registration requirement, the Supreme Court candidate they are targeting intends to file a lawsuit.
Chris Anglin, a 32-year-old Raleigh attorney, changed his voter registration from Democrat to Republican about two months ago and then put his hat in the ring for a seat on the high court, challenging incumbent Justice Barbara Jackson and well-known civil rights attorney Anita Earls.
The Republican Party immediately called Anglin out for switching parties and Dallas Woodhouse vowed to treat him “like the enemy he is.” It wasn’t long after that Republican lawmakers called a special legislative session and crafted SB3, which changed the rules about which judicial candidates could have a party designation by their name on the November ballot.
“The party information listed by each of the following candidates’ names is shown only if the candidates’ party affiliation or unaffiliated status is the same as on their voter registration at the time they filed to run for office and 90 days prior to that filing,” the bill states.
Anglin and one other judicial candidate are the only ones who would be affected by that language in the upcoming election.
“Every child understands changing the rules in the middle of game is wrong,” Anglin wrote in a release. “So do voters. Lawmakers should consider that before walking the plank on this vote.”
He said he filed to run for a seat on the Supreme Court “to stand up for an independent judiciary, to give a voice to disaffected Republicans who no longer recognize their party and are appalled at the assaults on our democracy happening every day on a state and federal level and to make the point that partisan judicial elections are a bad idea.”
He accused the General Assembly of being relentless in their attacks on the judiciary and of trying to rig the election.
“Even now they are trying to game the system by waiting over a week to take a vote on the Governor’s veto in order to try and run out the clock, and prevent any access to the Judiciary for relief,” Anglin added in the release. “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
Anglin states at the end of the news release that he will file a lawsuit at the earliest opportunity Monday if lawmakers do override the Governor’s veto of SB3 as part of his continued fight for an independent judiciary.
The 90-day requirement that lawmakers resurrected is one that was the status quo until they changed it recently to allow for more ballot access as part of a larger measure that eliminated judicial primary races this year. The Democratic Party wanted Republicans to leave the 90-day requirement alone, but they refused — even in court — and only changed it back when it didn’t work in their favor.
Anglin has been the clear target of SB3 — lawmakers have said it themselves — but there is another candidate for judicial office that took advantage of the elimination of the 90-day requirement. Rebecca Edwards, who is running for a Wake County District Court seat, changed her party affiliation from Republican to Democrat on June 1, according to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.
Candidate filing took place from June 18 through June 29. If lawmakers override the Governor’s veto of SB3, Anglin’s and Edwards’ names will still appear on the ballot this fall; they just won’t have a party affiliation listed like the other candidates.