Courts & the Law, Defending Democracy

Center for American Progress highlights effects of NC judicial changes on judges of color

Lawmakers are hellbent on changing the judiciary one way or another before the 2018 elections, and though it’s still unknown what exactly will happen, the proposals that have been floated result in a whitewashing of the bench.

Judges of color are already underrepresented on the bench and a recent NC Policy Watch analysis of House Bill 717, which redraws judicial and prosecutorial districts, showed that many would be double-bunked under the proposal. Additionally, there are separate challenges judges of color would face under a merit selection proposal.

The Center for American Progress wrote about the disadvantages changes to the judiciary pose to judges of color.

“The state’s African American judges have found themselves caught in the crossfire of these political battles,” the article states. “People of color are already severely underrepresented in North Carolina state courts, and recent changes could be making the problem worse. Bills pending in the legislature could deepen the disparity and further entrench a conservative, white elite in the state’s judiciary. At a moment of deep divisions and doubts about American democracy, political decisions that could eliminate the few judges of color would only heighten the mistrust among communities of color with respect to the justice system and the political process.”

The article ties voting rights cases to the North Carolina General Assembly’s attacks on the judiciary. You can read it in full here.

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