In response to “Democrats say they’re the party of principles. They should act like it” (July 27 Observer editorial):
This has been a dizzying decade for North Carolinians. Nearly every day we have witnessed attacks on the rule of law and the checks and balances of our democracy at both the federal and state level.
Our legislature has governed like the emperor with no clothes since gaining super majorities. The only check to its overreach has been an independent judiciary, so judicial elections have been a frequent and repeated target of power grabs.
First, N.C. lawmakers eliminated public financing for judicial races, widening the door for big money influence on the courts.
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Then they made us the first state in 100 years to make judicial races partisan, including the state Supreme Court. They rigged the ballot order to favor their candidate and eliminated the primary election for this year.
They’ve abolished seats on the Court of Appeals and redrawn judicial districts to favor one party over another.
They have openly expressed a desire to do away with judicial elections altogether and to give the legislature the power to control all judicial seats.
They passed six unneeded, misleading constitutional amendments that will harm voting rights, and strip power from the executive and judicial branches of government. There is nothing transparent, nor conservative about this. It’s just bad governing, putting party and power over the people.
While this has happened, the incumbent Supreme Court justice running for re-election has failed to stand up for the judiciary, remaining silent as lawmakers took steps to help her.
I could no longer watch from the sidelines and decided to run for Supreme Court to fight for our independent judiciary. When I announced, I stated I was running as a Republican to be a voice for the many disaffected, conservative, constitutional Republicans who believe the party has left them, and to make the point that partisan judicial elections are a mistake. They force judges to kowtow more to parties, and it is how you get judges like Roy Moore.
Some have questioned if I’m a “genuine” Republican. That is a fair question for many elected GOP leaders today. Is Donald Trump? An independent before 2012, I voted for George Bush, Pat McCrory and interned in Phil Berger, Jr.’s D.A. office. I want to represent the traditional GOP, one that respected our Constitution and the rule of law.
Bob Orr and Howard Manning were outstanding independent yet conservative jurists who also happened to be Republicans. I would serve as they did, for the people, not a party.
Now, in a stunning act of cowardice, legislators have taken steps to misrepresent my campaign on the ballot, and the incumbent continues to remain silent. They made the rules. I followed them. They will stop at nothing to hand pick their judge, and undermine our democratic process.
It may be legal, but it certainly isn’t right. Even children understand that changing the rules in the middle of the game is wrong. It’s downright un-American. No matter what happens next, our campaign has been victorious because it has exposed the folly of partisan judicial elections, and the emperor’s naked grab for power.
North Carolinians have a chance to get off this dizzying ride. They can stand up for an independent judiciary and the checks and balances of our democracy by defeating all six unneeded, misleading Amendments, and by electing lawmakers and judges who will fight for the rule of law, not undermine it. I’m confident they will make the right choices.