Commentary

Editorial: Supreme Court Justice Newby is out of line with public support of HB2

Justice Paul Newby

Justice Paul Newby

In case you missed it the other day, North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby (he of the controversial banjo ad from a few years back) appeared at a conservative Christian political rally recently that was quite arguably an inappropriate venue for sitting judge to appear, much less speak.

This morning’s lead editorial in the Fayettteville Observer rightfully criticizes Newby’s actions. This is from the editorial:

“We hear a lot about judicial activism these days, but we don’t often see it. In most cases, judges on the appellate level hear arguments, interpret the law and issue a ruling. They do their job, deciding how the Constitution and law apply to situations our Founders couldn’t possibly foresee….

But last week, we saw a rare deviation from that norm, a surprising revelation by a North Carolina Supreme Court judge who attended a Fayetteville rally supporting controversial House Bill 2, nicknamed the ‘bathroom bill.’

Justice Paul Newby was a guest speaker at the rally – ‘Heart & Soul: A Night of Prayer and Worship.’ What he had to say may haunt him in future cases before his court. While the 61-year-old justice, who is in his second term, didn’t specifically endorse HB2, he alluded to it, recounting meetings with pastors from California and Maine who said they are praying for North Carolina to uphold the law. He added: ‘Let me tell you as a judge, our religious liberties are hanging by a thread.’

The state Code of Judicial Conduct says judges ‘should abstain from public comment about the merits of a pending proceeding in any state or federal court dealing with a case or controversy arising in North Carolina.’ HB2 is subject of several cases and Newby’s comments came as a three-judge panel of the federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals was about to release a split decision upholding Rowan County commissioners’ right to open their meetings with a Christian prayer.

Judge Newby just tipped his hand forevermore. There may be some recusal requests and other problems in his future.”

This is not the first time, of course, that Newby has stepped over the line and espoused conservative religious views in a public, political setting. One hopes this editorial will cause him to stop and rethink these kinds of actions, but sadly, that seems unlikely.

Check Also

Georgia takes a different approach from NC to smokable hemp

The North Carolina General Assembly is going ahead ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

WASHINGTON – GOP megadonors and allies of President Trump are helping Sen. Thom Tillis bulk up his c [...]

The last time the Earth experienced a July this hot was well, we don’t know for sure. Such extremes [...]

Medicaid expansion is not just a moral imperative — it could provide a much-needed tonic for the fis [...]

Ag Commissioner Troxler opts in; 770 workers under Treasurer Folwell, Labor Commissioner Berry will [...]

When North Carolina officials put a stop, at least for the time being, to a badly mishandled contrac [...]

The post Cooper to Trump: “Not so fast” appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

If there is a single brightest and most hopeful bit of news on the North Carolina public policy hori [...]

Thirty-two seconds. That’s how long it took for the madman responsible for the carnage in Dayton, Oh [...]