Commentary

Their masters speak: Now we know why conservatives are now opposing proposed constitutional amendment

As reported in this space last week, a growing group of North Carolina Republican legislators have been having a change of heart about a constitutional amendment that they voted in June and August to put on the fall ballot. The power-grabbing amendment would seize the Governor’s power to fill judicial vacancies and hand it to legislative leaders. Now we know (or, at least, can make some strong inferences) as to what’s behind the flip-flop: the Koch Brothers have spoken.

Craig Jarvis of Raleigh’s News & Observer reports:

The North Carolina chapter of Americans for Prosperity — one of the most prominent political organizations in the country — is coming out against a Republican effort to limit governors’ power to appoint judges.

The group started by the billionaire Koch brothers planned to launch what it said will be a six-figure ad campaign on Monday urging people to vote against one of the six proposed constitutional amendments that the Republican-controlled General Assembly put on the November ballot.

“The amendment is nothing more than a political power grab that would grant more authority to special interests and politicians, opening the door to partisan court packing while weakening our constitutional right to select our own judges,” state director Chris McCoy said in a prepared statement. “That is bad for voters and bad for our courts.

“We’re strongly urging all North Carolinians to reject this backdoor effort that would lead to manipulation and cronyism in an institution that must remain fair, independent and impartial.”

Good for AFP. One only wishes that the Koch empire had issued its directive to GOP lawmakers a little earlier in the game as it would undoubtedly have spared us from even having to deal with the darned thing.

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