The majority leaders in the General Assembly know the effect their actions, namely Senate Bill 698, will have and they relish the politicization of our NC judiciary.
The North Carolina Senate filed a Constitutional amendment Tuesday that would shorten all judges and state Supreme Court justices terms to two years and end all sitting judges terms in December 2018.
Below is an interview NC Policy Watch conducted with former Justice Orr regarding this action. As you may remember, Orr moderated our Judges Speak Out about Independence in NC Courts held in late August.
“Bob Orr, a prominent Republican who served as a justice on the state Supreme Court and as a candidate for governor, described the Constitutional amendment, Senate Bill 698, as a “continued effort to try and intimidate the judiciary.”
“It’s just wrong,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday.
Orr said the amendment sends the wrong message to the judiciary that if judges won’t rule the GOP’s way, lawmakers will retaliate.
“That’s just fundamentally repugnant to everything I believe,” he said.
He added that when the 1868 state Constitution was being discussed — it was the first one with a requirement for judges to run for election — the issue was how long a term judges should serve, not how short. He said some lawmakers at the time wanted 16-year terms.
“They needed longer terms to remove them from the electoral process,” Orr explained. “Not only [are two-year terms] a bad idea, it’s just fundamentally a bad policy. I don’t think the legislators or the public want judges to be full-time candidates.”
Orr said he hopes lawmakers will have the sense to vote the Constitutional amendment down before it even has a chance to make it on the ballot.
“It just sends the wrong message in so many ways,” he added.”
Take action against this conservative incursion into our NC Judiciary
2) Educate yourself. There were a number of materials shared at the Do Independent Courts Matter in NC? event including:
Recent Legislative Threats to NC Judicial Independence A detailed list of 15 bills from Rep Joe John
Public Education Handouts from the National Assoc. Of Women Judges:
3) Call, visit and write your NC representatives. You can source their contact information at ncleg.net.