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The Center for American Progress released its list of million-dollar judges — those whose 2012 election campaigns raked in that amount or more, on their own or with the help of independent spending.  Sharing the spotlight on that list is our own Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby:

North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby was re-elected with the help of more than $2.5 million in independent spending. The state’s public financing program—long a model for states seeking to keep money out of judicial races—was overwhelmed by money from interest groups such as the state Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity, a group affiliated with the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers. North Carolina tobacco companies also chipped in hundreds of thousands of dollars after they benefited from a 2009 ruling, authored by Newby, in a dispute with tobacco farmers.

The largest donation, by far, was the more than $1 million from the Republican State Leadership Committee, a group that helped the state’s Republican legislature draft its recent redistricting maps. Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit alleging that the map disenfranchises minority voters, and the case is currently before the state supreme court. This money was instrumental in keeping a 4-3 conservative majority on the bench. North Carolina’s ethics rules say a judge should not hear a case if his or her “impartiality might reasonably be questioned,” but Justice Newby will hear the redistricting case despite the fact that he was re-elected thanks to millions of dollars from Republican groups that have a stake in the outcome.

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Art popeWhen the rumor surfaced yesterday that arch-right-wing money bags and politcal attack ad king Art Pope would be Pat McCrory’s new budget director, there was a lot of denial amongst the folks we talk with over here at Policy Watch. Folks simply couldn’t believe that the new Guv would take such an outrageous and politically risky step.

This would be like a President Romney appointing the Koch brothers as his directors of the EPA and IRS.

But, here we are, 24 hours later, getting our arms around the idea that the man actually did it! Today’s edition of the Fitzsimon File will explore this momentous decision in more detail so be on the lookout, but here is a preliminary take:

In one fell swoop, before he’s even taken office, Pat McCrory has done at least three very ill-advised things: Read More

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Looks like North Carolina’s Governor-elect  Pat McCrory is not interested in playing the silly Bev Perdue and Raleigh-bashing game enbraced with such gusto by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and the conservative shock troops at Americans for Prosperity.

In the first question at today’s press briefing. Jon Camp of ABC 11 asked McCrory for his thoughts on Perdue’s busy last few weeks in office and the hubbub in some circles surrounding her decision to lease the Dorothea Dix campus to the City of Raleigh.

Here’s what he said:

“She’s the governor. That’s how I feel about it. She has the authority to make those moves. And I uh…I’d expressed my opinion earlier on the Dix — I wish we could’ve waited. I’m, I’m all for the park.” Read More

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You’ve got to hand it to the right-wing AstroTurf groups like Americans for the Prosperous. These people and the big money plutocrats they shill for won a sweeping victory in the gerrymandered 2012 North Carolina election and they’re still screaming at Governor Perdue and calling her names.

Maybe they just have more money than they know what to do with in their budget line item for “Annoying and Offensive Robocalls” but it really is pretty amazing that these people are going to the trouble of launching a full-fledged P.R. campaign against the Guv for..well…for doing her job. 

In case you missed it,  Read More

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If you’re anywhere near Raleigh tomorrow, please consider taking just a few minutes out of your day to participate in a brief but important protest being organized by and on behalf of people excluded from the state lawmaking process during the last 16 months.  

A coalition of progressive groups is calling on protesters to gather across from the Legislative Building at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday for a “Pots and Spoons protest” modeled on the “cacerolazo” protests that frequently occur in Spanish-speaking countries. It should be a lot of fun.

Also, in an ironic and not surprising development for a group that wouldn’t recognize irony if it was standing right in front of them, the troubled souls at Americans for the Prosperous have announced that they will be on hand to tout their big dollar, Art Pope financed ad campaign in defense of the conservative General Assembly and to distribute earplugs. What better symbol for the the closed-minded people running the General Assembly?

Click here for more information.