Challenge made to new Soviet-style Supreme Court elections in NC
In a little-noticed change to NC election law this year, politicians are trying to rig the system in ways not very different from Soviet-style "democracy."
In the new system, Supreme Court justices would no longer compete in head-to-head match ups. Instead voters would be able to only re-elect or not re-elect a particular judge. If the judge is not re-elected, then the Governor would appoint the replacement, who would serve for two years until the next election. With incumbency win rates sky-high, this is an enormous advantage and takes away power from the voters.
Now one woman is challenging that law, as she wants to run against Justice Edmunds, who should be up in 2016. So far she's encountered male politicians who are telling her to "wait her turn."
“I am qualified to run for the Supreme Court and want to serve, but even more important is stopping the legislature from rewriting the constitution without the consent of the people,” lead plaintiff Sabra Faires, an attorney and past judicial candidate, said in a press release about the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in Wake County Superior Court. Faires is a former legislative adviser who worked for top General Assembly leaders in both parties.
The filing period for statewide races began on Tuesday.
The hangup for Faires is legislation the General Assembly passed this year allowing for a “retention election,” in which an incumbent Supreme Court justice may appear on the ballot unopposed.
Voters would decide whether to let that justice continue service. There is only one justice up for election in November 2016 – Bob Edmunds of Greensboro – and he has already filed documents for retention. If voters allow, he’ll have another eight-year term.
Faires contends that is not in agreement with the state Constitution, which calls for elections of justices, legislators, the governor and others. She calls the new process a “referendum,” rather than a proper election.
“If election of a Supreme Court justice means nothing more than a retention referendum, with no choice between candidates, then the General Assembly would be free to say that’s enough for all those other offices as well.”
Rep. Leo Daughtry, a Johnston County Republican, an attorney and a sponsor of the original House bill, said it’s untrue that Faires is barred from running.
“Whenever there’s an election, she can run,” Daughtry said. “She just will have to wait her turn