Lawyers were able to pool their money and control who gets the judicial — and attorney general — slots in state government.
In the 80s, Republicans came on like gangbusters in North Carolina. In 1988, the GOP got a governor and lieutenant governor elected. In 1994, the party took over the state House, made great gains in the state Senate, and won several council of state and judicial seats. That year, judges who ran with a (D) next to their name were voted out in favor of candidates with an (R) next to their name. It became clear that Republican judicial candidates won because of the party’s reputation as being tougher on crime.
Well, Democrats in the legislature decided to fix this problem when they regained a majority in the late 90s. Judicial candidates would — from then on — appear on the ballot without party identification. A great method for protecting Democrat jurists.
Fast forward to 2012. The Democrats realize that the state Supreme Court will be key in deciding whether the 2010 legislative and congressional redistricting plan will stand. Conservative justice Paul Newby is the only member of the court on the ballot this year. Democrat-aligned lawyer groups, flush with cash, have put forth Judge Sam Ervin IV (grandson of the beloved late US senator) as a challenger to Newby.
That was okey-dokey fine UNTIL reports of one of those *dreaded* Super PACs announcing its support for Justice Paul Newby surfaced in the media. Super PACs came into being as a result of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United case — which basically ended the unions’ and trial lawyers’ dominance of the world of campaign finance.
The mainstream media is in a panic over the rise of the Internet and blogs. They no longer have a monopoly on the dissemination of information. Leftists — and their MSM lapdogs — are upset that Citizens United has allowed mainstream America to compete in elections on an equal footing.
Our thrice weekly local paper here in Moore County — owned and operated by renowned Democrat strategists and fundraisers — is joining the crowd of leftist boo-birds whining about Citizens United and the influence of a SuperPAC in the Newby-Ervin race. Ervin’s campaign will have plenty of trial lawyer and labor union cash. The SuperPAC makes it a fair fight.
The answer is NOT having the governor appoint judges. Right now, we have bar associations dominating the candidate selection process. Moving to gubernatorial appointments forces the bar to share power with the political class. Those of us outside the Raleigh beltline who work hard and play by the rules will be pushed further out into the dark of the wilderness.
If the mainstream media did its job — and laid out the facts for us in a competent manner without LIES or LEFTIST SPIN — the demand for PACs and SUPER PACs would shrivel up dramatically.
I agree with The Pilot about taking partisanship out of the judicial races. The biggest problem is ideology. We need people on the bench who look at the law, look at the constitution, and rule on the facts based on what those documents say. No more making up stuff — á la RINO Howard Manning and free preschool for EVERYONE.