Here is important info about absentee voting, especially if you're in an area affected by the hurricane; more about post-hurricane voting here. Stamp NC Blue supports the progressive values of Democratic candidates. This is the third of our series on the six proposed amendments to the NC Constitution.
I have a degree in the English language. My partner is a lawyer. My good friend writes corporate policy for a living. None of us could make heads or tails of the text of the so-called "Judicial Vacancy Sunshine" amendment.
This amendment was one of two– the other was the bipartisan election board amendment in yesterday's post– that was originally pulled from the ballot by a panel of judges after a successful suit by Governor Cooper. The NCGA rewrote the description, not the bill, to what you see above. It passed after the rewrite, despite another suit and absolutely incomprehensible language.
Judges are the ones who tell the governor or the legislature that they have crossed Constitutional lines they aren't meant to cross. They are the ones who ruled that some of the districts drawn by the Republicans were illegally gerrymandered.
So naturally, the NC GOP's next step is to slip this branch of government into its pocket, after it has taken control of the legislature and all but hogtied the executive.
So what, exactly, will this amendment do if it's passed? The SBOE voter guide states that "this proposed amendment would take away the governor’s current authority to select a replacement judge [when a judge leaves office before the end of their term]. The amendment would give the legislature most of the control over judicial appointments." Funny that a previous sentence reads "In North Carolina, the people have a constitutional right to elect judges."
Marcia Morey, a former chief district court judge in Durham County and our own Democratic state representative of District 30, explains:
"This amendment would give legislators new powers to dictate which judges the governor must appoint. These judges could serve for up to four years without any input from voters. What the [Republican] supermajority is really scared of is that the voters will elect a justice to the N.C. Supreme Court whom they don’t like. If this amendment passes, a special legislative session could add two more justices, appointed by legislature. This legislative power grab is opposed by all five former Republican and Democratic governors."
Donald Stephens, former NC Superior Court judge, also weighs in:
"Under this proposed amendment, do you know who would actually pick the judges to be considered for appointment? Do not be deceived. Ultimately, the House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, two good old boys, they would pick our judges. It’s good old boy politics, pure and simple."
When read once, the amendment seems to be based on reasonable logic, but when unpacked, it is anything but. This is characteristic of all the amendments, but of this one in particular.
So much so that it seems one Republican senator became a victim of his own confusion. Senator Wesley Meredith of Fayetteville (District 19) originally voted to place the Judicial Vacancy Sunshine amendment on the ballot. Just a few days ago he came out against it.
I can't think of any better motivation to vote against this amendment than the closing paragraph of the NC Policy Watch article linked above:
"The bottom line: If ever there was powerful indictment of all six constitutional amendments that appear on the ballot this fall, Meredith is it. Simply put, if a veteran state senator — a man who cast numerous critical votes to place the amendments on the ballot — is so deeply confused about the action he has taken that he both a) didn’t understand the impact of his own action and/or b) has done a 180 degree flip flop on one critically important amendment in just a matter of weeks, something is decidedly rotten in the state of Denmark."
Download or print and SHARE brief descriptions of all the amendments and what they really mean:
You Can Vote (non-partisan)
Democracy NC (non-partisan)
Nix All Six downloads, social media shares, postcards to print and mail
Remember, the constitutional amendments will appear at the bottom of your ballot.
Share this info with your networks and VOTE AGAINST ALL SIX CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS!